Lesbian couple sentenced in fraud case

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com February 13 2001 12:00 AM ET

A lesbian couple who once hobnobbed with the elite of British society despite having been former prostitutes who owned a brothel in Australia were sentenced Friday to prison for defrauding investors, The Scotsman reports. Australian Evelyn Burton was sentenced to five years in jail, while her partner, Lyla Andre, was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison. Burton secured an introduction to Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh by promising a £176,000 scholarship to the Royal Windsor Horse Show four years ago. The women presented checks to winners at horse events, but the checks all bounced, prosecutors said. Prosecutor Patrick Upward said that “even professional men who otherwise are hard-headed and skilled in the matter of finance” were taken in by the women’s promises of high returns on investments. The couple took in more than £500,000, which was reportedly spent on high living. Burton pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud, while Andre pleaded guilty to one count of wrongful credit and two charges of evading a liability by deception. Judge Peter Ader told the women that they had tried to “construct an image of yourselves as fabulously wealthy business tycoons.” He said the women would be recommended for deportation when their prison terms are complete.