The Only Way Is Essex Lewis Bloor posed as ‘Thomas Harkin’ and conned people in a £3million diamond scam, a court was told
TOWIE star Lewis Bloor used a fake name to con people in a £3million diamond scam, a court heard.
Reality star Bloor, 31, who starred in the ITV2 show from 2013 to 2016, allegedly posed as ‘Thomas Harkin’ to convince investors to buy the stones at a 600% mark up.
It’s alleged that around 200 people, many of whom were elderly, were conned out of more than £3million by fraudsters working for firms Imperial Assets Solutions (IAS) and Henderson & Forbes.
On Tuesday, Southwark Crown Court heard that Bloor, of Buckhurst Hill, Essex, was paid £150,000 by IAS – with some of the money paid on to others – before he left to start his career on the TV.
Andy Barnes / FameFlynet.uk.com)
The court also heard another IAS employee, Max Potter, 25, bragged to a friend in messages: “They have all got great big Rolexes and Porsche jeeps.”
Potter also said his cousin, who ran the company, “is 28 and he’s a millionaire”.
The court heard alleged victim Michael Williams described Bloor as having a “very persistent style” which “subtly put pressure on me”.
Prosecutor David Durose QC said Mr Williams bought a stone for £5,978.70, while Bloor was paid £896.81, or exactly 15% of the investment sum.
He said: “Mr Williams said he was made to feel that he was buying a valuable item at a fair market price which would quickly go up in value with little risk.
“These diamonds were marked up by five or six times so that’s probably about the sort of figure that IAS would have actually paid for the diamond.
“Fifteen per cent of the investment disappeared straight away, was not going anywhere near the price of the payment, and Mr Bloor knew that, of course, because he received that money.”
Bloor denies conspiracy to defraud between May 7 2013 and July 1 2014.
He is on trial alongside Joseph Jordan, 29, from Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, George Walters, 29, from Beckenham, Kent, Potter, of Enfield, Middlesex, Nathan Wilson, 28, of Brentwood, Essex, and Simon Akbari, 27, from Loughton, Essex, who also deny the charge.
The court also heard both firms involved posed as specialist brokers for people wanting to buy or sell investment grade stones.
The court heard Bloor was said to be one of those with a “more central role in the fraud”, who sent scripts to those making the calls.
Two documents found in Bloor’s home offered investors an “exciting opportunity” to purchase rare diamonds from the Argyle mine in Australia, which were described as about to “shoot up in value”, the court was told.
“In reality, IAS did not have two or three projects a year, but rather sold over 100 diamonds very quickly in six months,” the prosecutor added.
“Every IAS client who has given a witness statement lost their money and there is no evidence of any client making money.”
The trial continues.
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