A fraudster who claimed links with Princess Anne and Kristin Scott-Thomas and who stole more than £150,000 from victims across the world faces years behind bars.

Lois Bhagwan, 56, enticed her victims – who included a former Fijian international rugby captain – with promises of high returns, investing in her charitable project’s high-interest fund.

But a tiny proportion – around £10,000 – of the money paid over has ever been returned, with many victims left empty-handed.

Fijian-born film producer Bhagwan’s Lionheart Project was touted as a way of connecting people around the world to solve issues facing communities across the globe.

The defendant hoped to create a film and associated TV series focusing on different communities around the world with people she branded ‘Lionhearts’.

Herald Series:

READ IN FULL: The story behind the film producer who stole £150,000 claiming links to royals and A-listers 

She claimed to be funding the Lionheart Project out of her own royalty income from films she’d produced and, later, through a multi-million pound high-interest fund.

Her victims were told that their money would be placed with this fund. During her five-week trial at Oxford Crown Court, the defendant said the fund had been registered in South Korea.

They included the ex-captain of the Fijian national rugby team, who lost almost £2,000 to the fraud.

Meanwhile, victim Wanda Arnold was persuaded into handing over £25,000 for two shares in the Lionheart Project plus a further £5,000 for a ‘short-term’ loan. The con artist spoke to Mrs Arnold and her husband about the Lionheart project and explained there were opportunities for them, who ran a water treatment company.

In total, her victims lost almost £160,000.

Bhagwan, who claimed links with heads of state, ambassadors and Hollywood A-listers, remained impassive in the dock as the jury returned guilty verdicts to seven counts of fraud. She was acquitted of three other charges.

READ IN FULL: The story behind the film producer who stole £150,000 claiming links to royals and A-listers 

Remanding her in custody, Judge Ian Pringle QC said: “You’ve been found guilty by this jury of seven serious charges of fraud by misrepresentation or the equivalent. The sentence I am going to pass on you must be one of immediate imprisonment. Quite how long that will be is for me to consider when I have heard your learned counsel next week.”

Welcoming the conviction, Det Insp Duncan Wynn of Thames Valley Police’s economic crime unit said: “I think it shows Lois Bhagwan was a serious criminal and that these offences warranted an appearance at Oxford Crown Court and subsequent conviction.”