Leone Steyn created a fictional satanic child-porn ring to allegedly defraud churches of more than R500 000 in cash and goods.

Johannesburg - The young woman who defrauded a series of Roodepoort churches out of more than R500 000 in cash and goods has admitted in court to a disturbing web of lies, but she’ll have to wait two weeks to find out if she’ll spend the next 15 years behind bars.

When she was just 17, Leone Steyn allegedly laid the foundations of a fictional satanic child-pornography ring.

She begged for sympathy for the non-existent children who had supposedly been saved from the ring’s evil clutches, manipulating counsellors from an online psychiatric service to solicit donations from churches and residents.

The Star reported last month how Steyn would allegedly log on to the MOBIEG counselling service using dozens of fake names, claiming to be children kept in the safe house looking for psychological guidance.

Ultimately, she allegedly created 55 profiles of fake children, using images she stole from social media.

For three years she kept up the charade, weaving tales among the counsellors at MOBIEG of suicides within the safe house, of murders and kidnappings, and begging them for assistance.

But earlier this year, she was arrested after a year-long investigation into her scheme.

Steyn, now 23, appeared before the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, where she pleaded guilty to the fraud charge, which generally warrants a minimum sentence of 15 years.

The Star understands that because of negotiations between the State and Steyn’s defence team, she could potentially avoid a prison sentence because of her guilty plea and the contents of a report on her psyche.

Stephnie Crouse, founder of MOBIEG and the complainant in the matter, told The Star that she doesn’t necessarily want Steyn to go to prison, and that it is more important that Steyn pay back the money she stole from the community, even if it takes years.

Sentencing proceedings are expected to get under way on May 26.

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The Star