con-man ‘too ill’ for court

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A RYE trickster who was part of a gang who fleeced dozens of pensioners out of their life savings was too ill to be sentenced by a London Court.

The gang used a `boiler room’ scam to persuade elderly victims to invest in property near the site of the 2012 Olympic Games in east London.

They are now starting jail terms totalling almost 12 years but gang member Andrew Bingham, 72, of The Mint, Rye, was unable to appear for sentencing at Southwark Crown Court last week due to ill health.

Mastermind of the scam Adrian Davison, 42, from Kent, who signed his email `R Hood’, was jailed for seven years.

His team of ruthless salesmen backed up their promises of high returns with glossy brochures and fake share certificates, and succeeded in raking in nearly £300,000 in just six months.

Davison was arrested after one client hired a private investigator to try to recover his money.

After his release on bail, he went on to set up an identical fraud which saw victims lose a further £148,000.

Salesmen Patrick Golding, 29, and Kenneth Mullen, 42, were jailed for 20 months and 30 months respectively.

Millionaire retired advertising executive Derek Voysey, 63, - nicknamed ‘Albert Stroller’ after the wily crook played by actor Robert Vaughn in the hit BBC series Hustle - was jailed for 18 months.

Christopher Fay, 64, who helped launder money from the second boiler room scam, was jailed for 12 months.

Passing sentence, Judge Stephen Robbins said: “These were outrageous and elaborate scams.

“These were boiler room frauds preying on victims who lost considerable sums of money, often retired people who can ill-afford to lose their savings.”

Prosecutor Anuja Dhir told the court that during the first fraud between August 2006 and March 2007, the gang ‘latched onto’ the upcoming London Olympic Games in 2012.

They told victims that they owned property in East London, near the games’ venue in Stratford, and that its value on the resale market was likely to ‘rocket.’

Victims who agreed to invest would either transfer money directly to the bank account of the front company Almena Properties in Gibraltar, or to an address owned by Bingham in London.

The court heard that the police have been able to contact 20 victims of the scam, most of them elderly, but that there are believed to be dozens more.