Cheque fraud ‘to pay for sex swap op in Iran’

Jan Miko
Jan Miko
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A TRANSSEXUAL woman ended up in the dock after committing a fraud to pay for a sex change operation.

Jan Miko says she was persuaded to take part in a criminal gang’s scam in her desperation to afford surgery abroad.

But the 22-year-old escaped with a community punishment after telling JPs at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court she was tricked into attempting to bank a stolen cheque.

She told the court she was fooled by a friend into thinking she would be receiving a loan but was arrested when she unknowingly paid the £3,200 to her bank account.

After her court ordeal, the pre-op transsexual told the Wigan Evening Post she believed she was receiving a loan which she intended to use to pay for a full change operation.

Miko, who began her gender transformation aged 14, said: “I feel so stupid with what I did, my problem is that I trust people too easily.

“Family and friends have been so supportive with everything and I’m happy with my decision to change despite the comments I receive from others, I just ignore them now.”

She said she was convinced to take part after receiving abuse in the streets and was told by a friend she would be able to arrange for a substantial cash loan.

She said: “I had become deeply depressed from people shouting and swearing and giving me racial abuse in the street. This friend introduced me to a man who would be able to offer me a loan.

“I accepted because I was desperate and because I wanted to help my mum, who is struggling with payments, but to also cover the cost of the operation.

“I told him I wouldn’t cash it but he just said to me, ‘look at yourself, are you not tired every time someone swears at you? If you had this money you will have a better life’.

“At the time I was so frightened. I could not eat or sleep and so I called him to tell him I would cancel the cheque but then he threatened me. I felt as if I had nowhere to turn as I know he would’ve carried out his threats.

“When I was arrested it came as a big shock as I had no idea that the cheque was fraudulent. I started crying and shaking, I couldn’t help it, I just didn’t know what to do.”

Magistrates heard Miko was arrested shortly after she paid in the cheque at the Natwest branch on Market Street, Leigh.

Defending Bob Toppin admitted that she had been extremely naive.

He said: “There’s a part of me that has a bit of sympathy for Ms Miko. She has been trapped inside a man’s body since birth, when all she ever wanted was to be a girl.

“She has undergone a number of processes to take her down that road of transformation but the ultimate one has not taken place.”

He added: “She has been stupid and has made a mistake and she recognises that fact readily.

“No doubt that when she legitimately gets the money together she will have the operation that will change her whole life, which she is so desperate to do.”

The court was told that on May 8 Miko, who was born in the Czech Republic and moved to the UK in 2009, entered the bank to cash the cheque.

Prosecuting Richard Stone said the cashier’s suspicions were aroused because the wording on the cheque was written in broken English whereas it belonged to an English name of a Mr Caterall.

After the cheque had been cashed and Miko had left, the bank then made enquiries and it was confirmed that the cheque had been stolen.

Miko’s bank account was frozen and upon her return to the bank days later, police were called and she was arrested.

Miko, of Balmoral Drive, Leigh, received a 12 month community order and was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work. She will also pay £85 costs and £60 victim surcharge.