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Fraud accused ‘lived in B&B under alias for three months’

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An alleged fraudster thought to have fled to Germany was living in a Co Antrim guesthouse under a false name for three months, the High Court has heard.

Jens Giesel was finally arrested for the suspected rental property scam after police discovered he had been staying at the Lisburn bed and breakfast, prosecutors said.

The 36-year-old accused, who has dual South African and German nationality, faces a charge of making an article for use in fraud.

But during a bail application the court was told police also want to question him about an alleged unpaid £3,600 bill from the guesthouse.

Giesel, whose address was given as North Circular Road, Lisburn, is accused of trying to defraud Ulster Property Sales out of £720 in rental arrears for a former home in Bangor, Co Down.

Prosecution counsel Fiona O’Kane said he emailed the company a screen shot of a bank transfer for the amount from an account in South Africa back in April 2013.

But checks revealed that the payment was never made, the court heard.

With Giesel then circulated as being wanted, Mrs O’Kane claimed his father told police he had gone to Germany.

It was only last month that police realised he had been staying at the Circular Lodge Guesthouse, Mrs O’Kane said.

She claimed that after checking in back in April under a false name and address he stayed there for the next three months.

Although Giesel is currently not charged with any offence in connection to his stay there, Mr Justice Stephens was told the B&B’s elderly owner has been left “distressed” and £3,600 out of pocket.

Opposing bail, Mrs O’Kane added: “Police have considerable concerns about how he conducts himself and his capacity for fraud using false identity.”

According to defence counsel Giesel and his family have been in Northern Ireland since 2009.

After relocating from South Africa he set up a business in online trading currencies which ran into cashflow difficulties, the court heard.

Questioning prosecution claims that Giesel’s father told police he had “fled”, his barrister said he has only left the UK twice since 2009 – to attend a wedding and to seek work in Germany.

“The alleged offences before the court do not demonstrate a sophisticated or large-scale criminal involvement on the applicant’s behalf,” she argued.

Granting bail, Mr Justice Stephens directed that Giesel and his family must all surrender their passports.

The judge also imposed a curfew, electronic tagging and ordered the accused to report to police three times a week.

 

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