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Hollywood exec denied knowing bogus actress who worked with Beauly mum to con family out of £35k

By Ali Morrison

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Glasgow Sheriff Court. Picture: Wikimedia Commons
Glasgow Sheriff Court. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

A Hollywood executive told police that he has never met a woman who conned her family in a fake actress scam.

Irving Azoff (76), was contacted by police investigating Heather Dunlop (38), who claimed that she was represented by him.

Heather – who went by the stage name Heather Cameron – also told loved ones that she had signed million-pound film and advertising contracts.

She and mum Ann Dunlop (68), convinced her brother David Bunton (51), to hand Heather cash to help her make the breakthrough while supposed payments to her were outstanding due to issues with banks.

A court heard Heather told family that she mingled with A-listers such as Leonardo Di Caprio.

She also claimed she was working with director Tim Burton on a film version of stage show Wicked.

Heather's auntie Jean Allen and her uncle Steve Allen were also induced with the string of lies.

The Allens went on to pay Heather and Ann's gas as well as council tax bills due to their money problems.

A private investigator was later hired by Mr Bunton which confirmed that the mum and daughter had told lies about Heather's career and links to Mr Azoff.

This sparked a police investigation which resulted in Mr Azoff being contacted by police in 2017.

Prosecutor Victoria Keel told Glasgow Sheriff Court that Mr Azoff denied any knowledge of Heather.

Miss Keel said: "A signed letter from Mr Azoff stated that he never managed or represented her or anyone at his company nor does he believe that he has ever met her.

"He said that his most recent trip to the UK was for a golf trip in 2017 and he has never transferred funds from his company accounts held by Heather in the UK or elsewhere."

Heather, of Margate, pled guilty to defrauding her family of £35,368.

Ann, previously of Beauly, was convicted at a trial last August to a similar charge which the court was told today was unsuccessfully appealed.

She was ordered to be of good behaviour for 12 months and told to pay all of the cash back.

Miss Keel told the court that London Royal Academy of Music graduate Heather appeared on national TV in three minor roles around 2010 and 2011.

Around March 2016, Mr Bunton was told by Heather and Ann that she had secured the agent services of Mr Azoff.

Miss Keel said: "Mr Bunton and Mrs Allen were told Mr Azoff would secure major acting roles, paying her millions of pounds and that she secured an advertising job with Chanel.

"She said she secured the lead role in the movie of the stage show Wicked as well as other major roles, she was in meetings with major stars and had attended the Oscars with Mr Azoff."

Mrs Allen believed Heather was living a "very comfortable" lifestyle which included first-class transatlantic travel, living at a hotel in New York and having a rented property in Los Angeles.

Ann initially contacted Mr Bunton for £5000 in late March 2016 to pay Heather's rent and bills.

Ann claimed there was a problem with two payments being cleared from Bank of Scotland.

Mr Bunton was not paid back by April 2016 and recalled excuses which included a Cohen Brothers film Heather was due to work on being scrapped.

Ann then asked for a further £20,000 from Mr Bunton which would be paid back but never was.

Another £1000 was transferred to Ann in May 2016 before a further £6000 as sent to cover Heather's rent and bills.

Miss Keel added: "In June 2016, Mr Bunton received a call saying Heather had a meeting with Leonardo Di Caprio and had major roles in movies.

"She also asked if she could borrow £5000."

Mr Bunton did not send £5000 but transferred £500 to cover her week's rent.

Further promises were made by Heather and Ann to pay the money back.

Miss Keel added: "Heather contacted him saying director Tim Burton advised her to move bank and that Irving Azoff was in London with her at the bank."

Mr Bunton went on to pay Ann's £823 council tax bill in September 2016 with promises she was picking up Heather's cards and chequebook the next day to organise a transfer.

Ann and Heather also claimed that they had a meeting with Coutts Bank CEO Peter Flavel.

Ann stated in November 2016 that she had no money as it was invested into a bank account in error.

Miss Keel said: "She further claimed that Heather was in contact with them and more than £1 million would be released in days."

Mrs Allen paid a £536 gas bill in order to stop the supply from being cut later that day.

Miss Keel said: "Mrs Allen spoke with Ann and became concerned that she and Heather were almost destitute.

"Mrs Allen spoke to Ann by phone and agreed a transfer of £1000."

Heather meantime provided updates that she was working on the Wicked film with Tim Burton.

In December 2016, Mr Bunton paid the £500 gas bill after he learned that it was going to be switched off.

Mr Bunton was later told the money would be delayed again.

Miss Keel said: "He told Heather her communication was awful and that they had not been letting them know what is going on and that her explanations were becoming far fetched."

Heather later messaged Mrs Allen stating: "My mum said you're worried about being paid back. But don't worry.

"I would never have taken money off anyone I couldn't pay back. I'm not that kind of person."

Mrs Allen and Mr Bunton spoke about their concerns and realised they provided money on trust.

Miss Keel added that it "dawned on them that they won't get their money back".

Ann later claimed that Tim Burton put Heather's card and cheque book in a safe.

At a meeting with Ann in February 2017, Mr Bunton suggested he looked over the contracts.

Miss Keel said: "He felt Ann and Heather were still telling the truth and that Irving Azoff was taking advantage of them."

Ann told Mr Bunton that her husband had run up a debt of £100,000 due to the failure of his business.

Mr Bunton was shown a signed letter with a Citibank logo on it which claimed there had been "mistakes" between financial institutions.

He went on to hire a private investigator as he "came to the realisation that he was not going to get his money back".

Miss Keel added: "This revealed that Heather had never been represented by Irving Azoff or his companies and that he had not been in he UK for several years.

"The firm also established that Heather could not have been working on the Wicked movie as it had not been cast."

Susan Bunton also carried out research where she established that Tim Burton was in Asia during the time he was supposed to have worked with Heather.

The matter was reported to police on August 2017 when Mr Azoff's office confirmed that Heather was not a client.

The hearing was told Heather claimed at her first court appearance that she had instructed an English solicitor.

A check by the Crown later that day with the solicitor "contradicted the information provided" by Heather.

Heather – representing herself – stated at today's hearing that she "knew from the outset" that she did not have the part in Wicked.

Sheriff Vincent Lunny asked if she had met Leonardo Di Caprio and she replied: "Briefly." She also claimed to know Tim Burton "personally".

She also denied meeting Mr Flavel of Coutts and admitted creating the Citibank letter.

Heather said: "I just lost my mind. I just want to pay them back. I didn't set out to get money and not pay them back. I didn't realise the amount.

"My mum was just repeating what I was saying."

Heather stated that she is not working and is living off savings but is able to pay the Allens back by cheque. Repayment to Mr Bunton will also begin.

Sheriff Lunny told Heather that he wants the money paid back before he will issue his punishment.

Sentence was deferred to go alongside Ann's hearing in September.

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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