Monday, 31 May 2010

Lawyer Jailed For Stealing £800k From Clients

A veteran solicitor, who helped himself to over £800,000 in clients' cash over three years at his failing firm to fund an "extravagant" lifestyle has been locked-up for two years and ordered to repay £156,000.

David May, 69, destroyed a forty-six year unblemished reputation in the profession after dipping regularly into a £280,000 will he was handling and writing-up 56 bogus bills for non-existent work - costing unsuspecting clients over £70,000

May, of Longridge Avenue, Saltdean, East Sussex - formerly of Badgers Holt, Homefield Road, Chorleywood, Rickmansworth - pleaded guilty that between July 13, 2006 and May 9, last year, within the jurisdiction of the Central Criminal Court, he stole £861,645.28 from David May & Co’s client account.

"He must have known it would be uncovered and must have spent much time in secret terror," announced Southwark Crown Court Recorder Andrew Campbell-Tiech QC.

"The public's perception of lawyers, which for some may be low, can only be damaged. It is a gross breach of trust."

Married May, who has grown up children, told police his lifestyle was "good to extravagant" and must repay £156,061 within six months or spend an extra two years in prison.

The City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate was called in by the Law Society's Solicitors Regulatory Authority after the lawyer confessed to the thefts at David May & Co, Edgware Road, Kingsbury, North-West London.

Prosecutor Mr. Brett Weaver told the court first-time offender May was a sole practitioner specializing in conveyancing, wills and probate.

He confessed to a Law Society investigator he duped his accountant into believing the huge transfers were lawful and after taking money from one estate used another £360,000 will to plug the gaps.

A total of 109 thefts of client money was identified during the period and between 2006 and 2008 May stole at least £10,000 per month.

"He said all the money went on personal living expenses and the running of the practice," explained Mr. Weaver. "The defendant said the firm suffered in the recession of 1988 and things got worse from 2005.

"His professional indemnity insurance costs increased and the firm was not earning enough to cover the expenses of the business and his personal costs.

"He says he intended to repay the money, but things went spiraling out of control. He used the accounts as his own personal bank account."

All his clients are covered by the Law Society's compensation scheme.

"He will carry the shame of what he has done to his grave," said May's lawyer Mr. Stuart Nolan. "It's a very sad day for Mr. May and his family."

Recorder Campbell-Tiech told May: "You must have lived this moment in your mind many times. I regret that you are here."

Sunday, 30 May 2010

University Money Boss Jailed With Hubby For Illicit Payouts

A University accountant has been jailed for duping bosses into rubber-stamping £66,000 in consultancy fees paid out to her long-term unemployed severely dyslexic husband for non-existent work.

The couple were only caught when the wife demanded to know why the latest bill had not been paid by North London's Middlesex University (pictured) and the four-year scam was exposed.

Anjee Rendall, 38 and 43 year-old Robert Wilson, both of Tysoe Avenue, Enfield, North London spent the cash on erasing debts and living expenses and are not being pursued for compensation.

Mum-of-one Rendall pleaded guilty at Wood Green Crown Court to three counts of fraud on the university, between January 31, 2007 and December 1, last year by falsely representing her husband was entitled to consultancy fees.

She also admitted two counts of dishonestly obtaining money from Middlesex University between July 1, 2005 and December 1, 2006 and attempting to dishonestly obtain a money transfer on or before October 30, last year.

Wilson pleaded guilty to dishonestly obtaining a credit of £56,545 from the university between July 28, 2006 and September 28, last year.

"Jail is inevitable because this was an awful lot of other people's money over several years," Judge Fraser Morrison told Rendall, sentencing her to fourteen months' imprisonment.

"Your seriousness is increased because you breached the trust your employers placed in you."

Sentencing Wilson to ten months' imprisonment Judge Morrison told him: "Your involvement was later and you were not in a position of trust. Vast amounts of money were coming into the household and the only explanation must have been criminal activity."

Rendall was a trusted member of the university's accounts department since 2000, but was sacked from her £600 per-week position in October, last year.

Prosecutor Mr. Anthony Heaton-Armstrong told the court: "She pretended the university owed fees for consultancy work by Mr. Wilson and made claims on his behalf.

"She has obtained sixty-six thousand pounds from the university for her husband, which was discovered after she queried why a payment was not made to him in October last year.

"Mr. Wilson became aware, after she started, what was going on and enjoyed the fruits of her dishonesty," added Mr. Heaton-Armstrong. "He realised he should not have been sharing in the loot."

When quizzed by police first-time offender Rendall - who qualified at a City of London accountancy college - said nothing.

Rendall's lawyer Mr. Ian Godfrey said: "She starts the dishonesty to cover living expenses and realises it is dishonesty she can get away with.

"Then overwhelmed by debts and loans she starts the bulk of the dishonesty. There is no evidence of a lavish lifestyle, it's all gone on debts and living expenses."

The couple's money problems were also worsened by Wilson's £200 per-week cannabis addiction, the court was told.

Since her sacking Rendall has joined her long-term "severely dyslexic" husband on the dole.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Guru Girl Defends Sex Charge 'Healer'

A self-styled healer dubbed 'The Guru of Suburbia' - accused of raping and molesting female followers - is the victim of a wide-ranging conspiracy one of his devotees told a jury.

Michael Lyons - aka Mohan Singh - 52, of Brondesbury Park, Kilburn, North-West London denies five counts of rape, two of sexual assault by touching and one by penetration on seven women between 1998 and 2008.

Graduate Sophie Reddyhoff, 28, who accuses her estranged family and the police of a plot to destroy Mohan denied she was a cult disciple who lured a victim into the defendant’s clutches.

“Noone was raped, noone was molested. People have come to court and lied about that,” the music and theatre promoter told Wood Green Crown Court.

She had travelled in a Bentley from Holmes Place health club High Street, Kensington, with her Sheffield lecturer landlady and the defendant to a party at a basement flat in Finchley Road, where Mohan allegedly penetrated the woman’s vagina with his fingers.

“She would have said: ‘Someone’s put their fingers up my fanny.’

“I would never invite anyone to be raped or molested. It’s an outrageous allegation,” blonde Miss Reddyhoff told the court.

“There was nothing in her behaviour to suggest that something untoward had happened and she stayed for another hour. I think it is outrageous someone can come along and turn the situation.

“In fact she thanked me for such a lovely evening. She said she had a great time.”

Reddyhoff abandoned PhD studied after a “life-changing” six months in India, where she met Mohan who introduced her to an alternative lifestyle to her cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis and alcohol existence.

“He’s an absolute expert in health, nutrition and the body and people will refer to him as ‘Dr’, but he doesn’t call himself a doctor.”

Reddyhoff’s parents bought a three-bedroom Sheffield house for her and her student brother, but she moved in with the divorced lecturer in her forties for more space.

“She was blaming men a lot for the mishaps in her life,” added Reddyhoff, who claimed her landlady enjoyed nights out in revealing clothes and had: “A lot of one night stands.”

The landlady was introduced to Mohan at the health club and received some treatment to her back and was only in a private room at the three-bedroom flat for “five to seven minutes” with the defendant, said Reddyhoff.

“I know she lied because I was there when she met Mohan. Mohan hasn’t raped anyone, it’s all lies.

“Women can be very manipulative. I think it’s disgusting.

“Thousands of people would stand up and say how much he has helped their health and well being. I have never seen him be remotely sexual in his approach to people.

“It has taken six years to come up with six rubbish stories.

“There is a campaign, like my parents to bring down Mohan, to try and destroy him.”

Friday, 28 May 2010

Perv Arrested At Underage Sex Rendevous

An Internet pervert, who believed an undercover police officer was a thirteen year-old girl he groomed for sex over five months, was jailed for fifteen months today.

Batchelor Steven Ledger, 36, of Leasowe Avenue, Leeds, Yorkshire, was arrested at the city’s train station (pictured) while waiting for ‘Lauren’ outside a McDonald’s restaurant.

“You engaged her in lurid and suggestive communications,” Judge Christopher Hardy told obese and balding Ledger at London’s Southwark Crown Court. “It was graphic in the descriptions of sexual intercourse of various types that you offered.”

Full-time carer Ledger was trapped by the Metropolitan Police’s Paedophile Unit which initially communicated with him on Internet social network site Bebo then via text and phone calls as he posed as an 18 year-old boy from York.

He pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a child after sexual grooming, plus seven counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity between May 20 and October 22, last year.

Prosecutor Miss Usha Shergill told the court: “He indicated he wanted Lauren to travel to Leeds for sexual activity and sexual intercourse and was sexually explicit, lewd and lurid on many occasions.

“He said he wanted to shag her and take her virginity and asks if she would be willing to give him a blow job.”

Ledger also begged the imaginary 13 year-old for phone and text sex and told her she could stay with him as long as a week when they would also indulge in anal sex after a vodka-drinking session.

When police confronted Ledger outside McDonald’s he claimed to be his brother Michael and insisted he was waiting for his 16 year-old Chesterfield girlfriend.

He eventually admitted the truth, telling officers it was unlikely a 13 year-old girl would have sex with him after meeting “face to face.”

Ledger also confessed to police: “I’m sick in the head. I’m a pervert.”

Judge Hardy added: “There are often cases of sad lonely men living on their own in a flat somewhere and like Mr. Ledger the only way they can have any satisfactory contact with other people is electronically.

“There are an increasing number of young children who have unmonitored access to these sort of websites and there are people who target these websites to groom these children.”

The Judge told first-time offender Ledger, who takes care of his epileptic father: “It must have been a great shock to you when instead of Lauren turning up a police officer did.

“Sadly you are an isolated and lonely man who lives alone in a flat and you are the victim of great social isolation.

“Young children on the Internet are wide-open to exploitation.”

The Judge also imposed a ten-year Sex Offender Order and Ledger must also sign-on the Sex Offenders Register for ten years.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Revenge Phone Theft Costs Teen His Good Name

A 19 year-old who has never been in trouble with the police was arrested after the revenge theft of a mobile phone from a younger teen he suspected of robbing his little brother.

Bricklayer Romeo Miller tried to headbutt the 13 year-old victim who chased him down after the phone was snatched in quiet residential Ryecroft Road, Streatham, South London, (pictured).

He pleaded guilty at Inner London Crown Court to stealing the phone on July 1, last year. A more serious charge of robbery was dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.

The court was told it was 3 pm and the victim was walking home from school when two suspects approached - including the defendant - who shouted at the schoolboy, putting his arm around his shoulder and asking to see his phone.

The boy later told police he "felt scared" and showed the defendant his phone, which was then snatched out of his hand.

The 13 year-old chased the defendant, who swung a punch at the youngster, then aimed a headbutt at the boy as they grappled.

Police were called and a description of Miller was circulated and he was arrested 45 minutes later.

He told officers the 13 year-old had robbed his younger brother a few weeks earlier. The £100 phone was not recovered.

"What you did was snatch a mobile phone from a thirteen year-old and threatened him after the event," Judge Roger Chapple told Miller. "You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself."

He ordered the defendant to complete 60 hours unpaid community service work, complete 36 hours at an attendance centre and pay £50 costs.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Bogus Licence Lands Italian In Jail

An Italian who tried to hoodwink London police with a fake driving licence he bought for £100 in a back street shop has been jailed for four months.

Jobless driver Massimillano Mantovani, 44, was stopped by cops because his Lexus had no vehicle insurance near Elephant and Castle - where he bought the badly forged Italian licence.

He pleaded guilty at Inner London Crown Court (pictured) to possessing a false identity document on March 17, with intent to deceive.

The court heard officers immediately identified the licence - valid until 2019 - as a "poor quality" fake which Mantovani confessed to buying in a shop.

The first-time offender has never passed a driving test in his home country.

"You wanted to persuade people you could lawfully drive in this country when you couldn't," Judge Roger Chapple told Mantovani.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Romanian Cashpoint Crooks At It Yet Again

A crooked couple, caught by police with nearly one hundred cloned cards they used to raid cashpoints of £1600 in the heart of London’s financial district, were each caged for six months today.

Builder Sorin Vornicu, 22, and cleaner Nicoleta Buziuc, 23, both of Curzon Crescent, Barking, Essex pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal in Ludgate Circus on February 8.

Southwark Crown Court heard the Romanian-born first time offenders were spotted acting suspiciously at various bank cashpoints by a plain-clothed police officer – repeatedly using different cards in a small area.

When stopped 65 blank cloned cards with magnetic strips and four-digit pin numbers printed on them were found on Buziuc along with £1,000 cash.

Inside Vornicu’s underpants police found another 23 similar cloned cards and £600 cash.

Many of the cards were Australian, suggesting a well-planned international fraud, but the defendants insist they were mere “foot soldiers” sent out by organisers who manufactured them.

“This was an extensive and well planned fraud,” Judge Deborah Taylor told the pair, who have been in custody since their arrest, sentencing each of them to six months’ imprisonment.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Burglar Leaves DNA At Break-In

This is the face of bungling burglar Joe Fagan - who left tell-tale DNA at a break-in after cutting his hand smashing through a rear window - and is now starting a two-and-a-half year prison stretch.

The 30 year-old of Davis Way, Sidcup, Kent pleaded guilty at Woolwich Crown Court to burgling the residential property in nearby Erith on October 24, last year, stealing a Nintendo Wii and accessories worth £310.

Officers from Bexley's burglary squad investigated after the couple who live at the address returned home to find their rear kitchen window damaged and the property taken.

Police forensic scene examiners found traces of blood on the windowsill and Fagan, who is on the national DNA databse after earlier crimes, was identified and arrested on November 9.

Detective Sergeant Shelley Barrett said: "Burglary is a crime that can be both financially costly and emotionally devastating for victims and their families.

"In the absence of any witness to this burglary the blood sample obtained by the forensic scene examiner, which transpired to be a full DNA match for Fagan, was vital in securing a conviction against him in court."

Sunday, 23 May 2010

City Stockbroker's Rogue Trade Cost Company Over £2 Million

A rogue City trader whose shares "gamble" resulted in £2million-plus losses was told he faces prison after admitting a cover-up involving over four million HSBC shares.

Jonathan Bunn, 31, of The Villiers, Gower Road, Weybridge, Surrey, a broker with Bishopsgate-based Lewis Charles Securities Ltd. hoped the share price he would pay after agreeing unauthorised sales would plunge - resulting in huge profits.

However, the price he had to pay rose, wiping out any potential profit, leaving the company in the red and Bunn's immediate boss Loizou Stavros with a £350,000 personal loss.

Prosecutor Mr. David Levy told Southwark Crown Court: "It was a gamble. The defendant hoped the shares would drop. He made no personal gain, but there was a massive loss."

Bunn pleaded guilty to falsifying a document required for an accounting purpose, namely a trade slip, which was misleading, false or deceptive regarding 4,350,000 HSBC shares between July 22 and 23, last year contrary to the Theft Act.

He denied that between July 20 and 31, 2009 he dishonestly abused his position by engaging in unauthorized trades resulting in losses in excess of £2 million, contrary to the Fraud Act and that count will lie on the file.

"The defendant has accepted the totality. He has acted improperly in his position as a trader by engaging in trades where he agreed to sell shares before he bought them," explained Mr. Levy.

"The defendant is responsible for these losses and caused a personal loss to the owner in excess of three hundred and fifty thousand pounds."

The Recorder of Westminster Geoffrey Rivlin QC told Bunn: "This is a very serious matter. You know I cannot make any promises and custody is the likely sentence.

"I don't want you to read anything into the fact I am granting you bail," added the Judge, bailing Bunn until June 24 for a pre sentence report on condition he resides at his recorded address, reports twice a week to police and cooperates with the probation service.

The Financial Services Authority were alerted to the rogue trades and alerted the City of London Police's Economic Crime Department.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Dancefloor Victim Scarred For Life By Drunken Woman

A woman who claims her bottom was groped on a pub’s dance floor by another drinker, who she left permanently scarred following violent retribution, has been caged for sixteen months.

The male victim needed seventeen stitches to his mouth after being repeatedly punched and kicked by her and an accomplice, who continued the attack outside.

Monika Friedrich, 26, of Charlgrove Road, Tottenham, North London pleaded guilty to assaulting 35 year-old Paul Krzywdziak, causing him actual bodily harm, at McGowan’s, Neasden Circle, Neasden, (pictured) on June 22, 2008.

Inner London Crown Court heard first-time offender Friedrich, who only gave birth to her first child four months ago, took part in a joint attack on the victim with a male friend still wanted by police.

The victim was struck about the face and back and escaped into the street, where he was followed by the defendant and her friend, beaten to the ground and repeatedly kicked in the face.

Mr. Krzywdziak suffered deep lacerations to his upper and lower lips, swollen eyes, bruising to his nose, back and shoulders and lumps to his head.

“ I asses you as a dangerous woman due to the nature of the injuries, the prolonged attack and the way in which you took out your fury,” Judge Diana Faber told Friedrich.

“You are a lady of wholly unpredictable character who inflicted serious injuries to your victims face.”

When quizzed by police the defendant insisted the victim groped her as she enjoyed a night out with friends, but was further angered after losing a front tooth in the initial fracas.

“He touched my bum and I said: ‘What are you doing? F*** off’,” Friedrich told officers. “I was drunk, I pushed him and he pushed me and I decided I would leave and continue the fight.

“I gave him a lot of kicks everywhere,” she admitted and CCTV evidence proved Friedrich returned to the victim three times to deliver more kicks and blows.

Judge Faber told the defendant: “You accept kicking him repeatedly while he was on the ground. You were responding to your fury at having your tooth knocked out.”

Friedrich almost collapsed in the dock when told she was going to prison and extra staff were alerted to escort her to the cells.

“She is suffering quite badly through stress as a result of these proceedings,” her lawyer Harry Bentley told the court. “It has been a thoroughly shameful experience for her.

“She admits her response to the events of that evening were completely over the top and says she is sorry these injuries were caused to the gentleman.”

Friday, 21 May 2010

BNP Hate-Monger Forced To Attend Left-Wing Race Classes

A failed BNP election candidate, who attacked four anti-racist demonstrators while hurling a torrent of abuse, dodged prison, but must attend race awareness classes.

Jobless David Robin Clarke, 41, of Dunley Drive, New Addington only polled 518 votes in the Heathfield ward during the May 6 Croydon council election.

He was placed on a twelve month community order at Croydon Magistrates' Court which includes an education, training and employment requirement as well as the diversity awareness programme.

He denied, but was convicted after a trial of asaulting Hope Not Hate campaigner Silvia Beckett and Nigel Green outside East Croydon railway station on May 27, last year and assaulting Lorna Nelson-Homian and James Cox on May 29.

Prosecutor Angela Williams told the court it was nearly 7pm on May 27 when anti-BNP protesters were handing out leaflets and angry Clarke (pictured) approached.

"He knocked the leaflets out of Mr. Green's hand and knocked them out of Ms. Beckett's hand and returned with threats telling them: 'The Morden lot will be here'."

Mr. Green told police Clarke pushed him and grabbed his arm then returned, pushing Ms. Beckett out of the way, almost knocking her off her feet.

Clarke, who was wearing a 'Screwdriver' T-shirt - the notorious Blood & Honour' right-wing rock band - at the time claims he reacted to "Nazi" slurs hurled by the group.

Two days later he confronted the pacifist protesters again shouting: "Fucking scumbags. Filth on our streets, taking our jobs."

Again he snatched leaflets and pushed and shoved both victims and was arrested after being identified on CCTV.

"He is deeply regretful and remourceful," Clarke's lawyer Diana Payne told the court. "He feels the actions of the complainants was aggressive and provocative and brought on the situation.

"He has been in conflict before due to his political allegiances, but this incident, he feels, was not of his own making and the complainants were unprofessional politically in the way they were behaving.

"It was an unfortunate clash of characters that day."

Clarke has previous convictions for violence, but has stayed out of trouble for twelve years.

District Judge Robert Hunter told Clarke: "You must realise the complainants have the same right to express their views as you and must have the right to do that without fear of assault.

"I hope you successfully complete this order and put this behind you. If you fail to comply you can be brought back and re-sentenced."

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Rookie Drug-Dealer Falls Foul Of Police

A rookie drug-dealer's academic career lies in tatters after he was locked-up for two years when undercover police caught him red-handed selling heroin and cocaine in a midnight street deal.

Lambeth College student Dominic Marfo, 19, of King George House, Stockwell Road, Stockwell had offers from four different universities to pursue a degree.

He pleaded guilty to possessing small amounts of the class A drugs, with intent to supply, in nearby Clapham, South-West London on August 8, last year.

Inner London Crown Court's annexe (pictured) heard plain-clothes officers - employed in an anti-drug operation - heard a scruffy male approach the defendant and shout: "Oi. Have you got it?"

The pair walked down a quiet side street where the male paid Marfo £50 for three wraps of heroin and three wraps of cocaine.

First-time offender Marfo was arrested and when his bedroom was searched police found all the usual evidence of drug-dealing; electric scales, clingfilm, plastic bags, rubber gloves and £140 cash.

When quizzed the defendant told officers: "You don't know how much pressure I'm under," claiming he was forced to the streets to repay a debt to a violent drug dealer.

Sentencing him to two years youth custody Judge John Wakefield told Marfo: "The police are doing their best to stamp out heroin and cocaine. Anyone who takes part in the trade must expect a severe custodial sentence."

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Two-Year Hangover Begins For Champagne-Loving Swindler

The boss of a luxury car hire firm who swindled creditors and a retired gay couple in a £610,000 fraud to fund a lavish lifestyle in London and St Tropez has been locked-up for two years.

Iranian-born Koroush Pour, 33, of Glasswater Road, Crossgar, Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, tricked victims into believing he was a playboy member of the Kuwaiti royal family with an eight-figure trust fund.

Heartless Pour smooth-talked the retired nurses out of £150,000 – their life savings - and took almost half a million pounds from business creditors.

Pour was a regular on the international party scene, spending thousands of pounds on a night out even paying 10,000 euros on a bottle of champagne while on the town in St Tropez, France.

Southwark Crown Court heard Pour befriended the couple while on holiday and persuaded them to hand over their savings and pension pot with the promise of investing the cash in euros at a high exchange rate.

At the same time he was the director of Kensington-based Swift Hire Ltd. specialising in the sale of expensive cars to the very rich, including Bentleys and Lamborghinis – lending one to BBC’s Top Gear show.

In November 2008 financers became suspicious of Pour’s business dealings and alerted the City of London Police.

Following an eight-month investigation he handed himself in and was arrested.

The company accounts revealed he obtained money for vehicles he did not buy, sold vehicles on without clearing the finance and in some cases purchased vehicles by forging existing customers details without their knowledge.

Pour used his ill-gotten gains to fund a life-style well beyond his means and to convince partygoers he was something and somebody he was not.

Detective Inspector Perry Stokes from the City of London Police fraud sqaud, said: "While it lasted Koroush Pour enjoyed a champagne lifestyle funded by other people’s money.

“Now, however, the party is over and all that Pour has to look forward to is a prison sentence.

"This conviction sends out another warning to all those fraudsters who think they are too clever to be caught.

“The banks and the City of London Police are working together to crack their codes and bring fraudsters to justice.

“I would also urge anyone who is thinking of using a private investor to make detailed checks before handing money over.

“This is the best way to protect yourself against people like Pour.”

“It is a sophisticated fraud,” prosecutor Mr. Angus Bunyan told the court. “The company dealt in high-value cars and started off legitimately, but he defrauded a bank by obtaining credit for purchases of vehicles he either did not purchase or obtained credit in false names, using names of customers.”

Pour pleaded guilty to knowingly carrying on the business of a company, namely Swift Hire Ltd., with intent to defraud a creditor, namely Lombard North PLC, contrary to the Companies Act, between January 1, 2006 and September 31, 2007 and between October 1, 2007 and October 5, last year, within the jurisdiction of the Central Criminal Court.

He also admitted that between January 1, 2006 and October 1, this year, within the jurisdiction of the Central Criminal Court, he was knowingly party to the carrying on of a business, namely Swift Hire Ltd. for a fraudulent purpose, namely dishonestly completing vehicle hire purchase agreements, contrary to the Companies Act.

Pour is accused of financing vehicles through Lombard North Central PLC, a division of the Royal Bank of Scotland, and financing the same vehicles through his customers, therefore doubling up and also using customers details to finance from Lombard.

Pour also pleaded guilty to dishonestly making a false representation to Martyn York and John Mercy that he would exchange £150,000 for Euros at an exchange rate of £1 to 1.39 Euros and credit their account between February 9 and October 31, 2008, within the jurisdiction of the Central Criminal Court.

Many of the luxury vehicles have been sold to repay Lombard’s debts, but the couple are still suffering outstanding losses of £122,000.

Pour had shared a home with his Irish wife and three children.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Fake-Sheikh Fraudsters Jailed

Two fraudsters, who posed as agents for a multi-millionaire Arab sheikh in a $58m property deal to scam three South African businessmen, have been jailed for two years each.

The property developers, who had jetted to the U.K. seeking investment for a huge ranch project, became suspicious when asked for a £35,000 cash deposit and tipped off police.

Nigerians Chukwuma Emetu, 34, (pic.l) and Ifeanyichkwu Kalu, 34, (pic.r) both of Parrock Street, Gravesend, Kent, pleaded guilty to dishonestly making a false representation to Bernhardt Richter on April 6 that an Old Mutual plc bond was genuine, with intent to make a gain.

They were arrested when City of London police suddenly burst in on a Canary Wharf meeting the fraudsters had arranged to exchange the bogus bond for cash.

They were jailed at the Old Bailey after City of London Magistrates’ Court committed the pair in custody for sentencing.

The victims had published their proposal and were seeking investment of $58m when contacted by the defendants, who claimed they represented Sheikh Mohammed of Qatar and a London meeting arranged.

They had employed false names and identities in a bid to convince the businessmen they were working on behalf of a middle-eastern venture capitalist.

The South-Africans arrived believing they were entering legitimate negotiations to sell 40% of their company.

As part of the deal the defendants demanded a £35,000 deposit, which would be invested in a bond issued by Old Mutual plc and given to the three businessmen.

The victims became suspicious at the meeting, held in an office available for hourly hire, and asked the men for id, but were refused.

Enquiries with Old Mutual plc revealed the bond was fraudulent and City of London police were contacted, arresting the defendants at a follow-up meeting, when they again hoped to get their hands on the cash.

Detective Inspector Perry Stokes of the Economic Crime Directorate, said: “ This was a particularly audacious scam, which would have succeeded were it not for the awareness of the South African businessmen and the quick response from my team.

“What is most pleasing for me is it took only thirty-seven days from receiving the initial complaint to when these two criminals were sent to prison. This shows sophisticated fraud investigations do not always have to be lengthy enquiries

“Advances in communication methods mean fraudsters often target individuals from different nationalities living in different countries, however these criminals can be stopped and brought to justice by people staying vigilant and reporting their suspicions to the police.”