A PREGNANT model has been left without access to any of her hard-earned money after she became victim to a money laundering scam.

Stevie Dent, 27, has been taking on modelling contracts for the last five years and was recently contacted by someone claiming to be an agent and offering her magazine work.

He said he would pay her for the shoot up front and send over extra cash would be used to pay stylists and other people involved further down the line.

But alarm bells began to ring for Miss Dent when the company began transferring even more cash to her account.

She told her bank to send the money back immediately including the money she was meant to be paid.

She said: “I have done modelling jobs for the last four or five years.

“A few weeks ago I got an email from a contact who said they were in America and were looking for some magazine work.

“They told me the fee would be £900 for a three-day shoot but said they would transfer more money which I would then have to transfer on to other people involved like stylists.

“They then sent me £10,000 and told me to keep £900 but move the rest on.

“At the time it did seem like a lot of money, but I know there is money in the industry so I transferred it on.”

The company then transferred more cash to her in two instalments of roughly £3,000 when Miss Dent contacted her bank Barclays to say all money from the account should be returned.

For a few weeks, Miss Dent was able to access funds which she could prove had come from her wage from her job as a private support worker, but now a complete block has been put onto her account.

She said: “I have been to the Barclays bank eight times.

“At the moment I am stuck and having to live off my sister.

“It is so stressful and it feels like they are not doing anything to help me.”

Miss Dent, who lives in Colchester, is six months pregnant and has funds in her account for a recent car insurance payout following a crash which saw her vehicle written off.

She is now left without any money or a car and wants to warn other people about working with people they don’t know.

She said: “I spoke to him via email and on the phone and he said he was in London.

“Now I definitely think I’ve been the victim of some kind of con – some sort of money laundering.

“I would definitely advise people to be careful but it can be so difficult in the industry when you are trying to find work.”

A Barclays spokesperson said: “Keeping customers secure is our top priority and when we are alerted to any fraudulent activity on a customer’s account we will investigate as a matter of urgency. 

"This case is more complex, but we do hope to have a resolution soon and will contact our customer to let her know the outcome.

"We are committed to protecting our customers and have invested significantly in anti-scam initiatives.

"As part of this we have worked hard to educate not just Barclays customers but everyone about how they can keep themselves safe, launching a national TV advertising campaign, a dedicated website with tips and tools and events in our branches.

"We are also committed to working together with other banks, payment providers, police, wider law enforcement and regulators to bear down on both scams and fraud such as this.

"If anyone thinks they may be a victim of a scam, we would encourage them to report the matter to their bank and to Action Fraud UK immediately.”