Serial conman and son of a police officer, Kenneth Goldsmith, had just been released from prison and was living in a hostel, but convinced victim Joanne Williams he was an international businessman and catering constulant.
Goldsmith, aged 42, had just come out of jail for a swindle in which he claimed to be a celebrity chef who had trained at Bernard Loiseau's Michelin starred restaurant in Paris and was a friend of Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and Kenneth Hom.
He was so plausible with his con that he even talked his way on the television shows Saturday Kitchen, UKTV food and the French show Cuisine France.
In reality, his only formal training was as a radar engineer and he had learned to cook in prison kitchens while serving three different sentences totalling 12 years for previous frauds.
When released from prison, he claimed to Mrs Williams that he was setting up an exclusive restaurant and that he was also a gold dealer who owned properties in Britain and abroad.
He persuaded Mrs Williams to allow him to take over the running of her finances, but he looted her bank accounts and left her owing arrears on her mortgage, Exeter Crown Court was told.
Goldsmith, formerly of Low Street, Winterton, near Norton Disney, and latterly of Pinhoe Road, Exeter, admitted ten frauds and was jailed for 28 days by Judge Phillip Wassall at Exeter Crown Court.
The judge said that the sentence would have been in the region of 28 to 30 months but he had to take into account that Goldsmith had already spent 16 months in jail since his arrest - the equivalent of a 32 month sentence.
Richard Crabb, prosecuting, said the conman was released half way through his previous three and a half year sentence and moved to a hostel in Exeter.
He added: "Mrs Williams was living next door and even through she knew he had been to prison he managed to deceive her into believing he was a chef who had his own restaurant in Exeter.
"He befriended a couple who were setting up a new restaurant and presented himself as a wealthy man with a proven track record in the business and substantial interest in properties in Britain and abroad.
"His contact with this couple added plausibility to what he was asserting to Mrs Williams and he told her about his finances and said he would advise and help her with hers.
"She did not have much money herself but he told her he bought and sold gold and showed her supposed samples of what he dealt in."There is no doubt she was in awe of him and took him at face value. He moved in with her, initially as a lodger, and they started a relationship in which he persuaded her to entrust her entire financial affairs with him.
"She runs a hairdressing business and she gave him access to all her accounts and gave him responsibility for banking the takings. She was arrears with her mortgage and did not have much money."He said he would buy her a property for just under £1 million and buy a separate house for her son to live in and he contacted estate agents and solicitors.
"As far as the Crown is concerned, he did not have access to that sort of money and when the time came when he was asked to put down some money he was unable to do so.
"Mrs Williams began to believe something was wrong and she had been taken for a ride. He realised this and left."
Mr Crabb added that Mrs Williams estimated her total loss at between £4,000 and £5,000 but Goldsmith had admitted stealing cash and cheques worth £737.36.
David Maunder, defending, said there was some medical evidence his client may suffer from bi-polar disorder.