Police probe reports of scammer defrauding people out of money

The frauds took place in the Holywood area of Co Down. Pic by Google
The frauds took place in the Holywood area of Co Down. Pic by Google

Detectives investigating reports of two people in Co Down being conned out of “considerable sums of money” believe others may have fallen victim to the same scammer.

According to the PSNI, two reports of fraud involving members of the public in the Holywood area were received by officers in March this year.

They revealed that both victims had been befriended by a man who convinced them both to lend him money.

“In one report the victim was convinced to give money to the man to help develop a business idea. He further convinced her to lend him another sum of money. After a lengthy period, the woman had received just a fraction of the money she lent him. She never received the remainder,” Detective Constable Horner explained.

“In the other report, the victim was persuaded to hand over cash and his car, which the man agreed to buy, paying fixed sums every month. However, after a period the payments for the vehicle stopped and the car was sold on and the victim was left significantly out of pocket.

“Both of these victims placed their trust in this man, lending him their money in good faith and in the belief they would get back what they were owed. However, that didn’t happen and both victims lost considerable sums of money.”

Officers investigating the fraud claims believe the same man, who ran a business in the Holywood area for a number of years, may have scammed other people out of money. And they have appealed for other victims to come forward.

“Unfortunately, we believe there may be others out there who have fallen victim to this man and his scams, and I want to make a direct appeal to them to come forward to us,” DC Horner continued.

“In particular, I want to appeal to anyone who believes they may have come into contact with this man when he ran a business in the Holywood area between 2015 and 2018. Do you believe you were befriended by this man and asked to invest money in his business, or loan him money which he promised to pay back with a substantial return?

“If you think you were, or if you have information you believe would assist our investigation I would appeal to you to get in touch with us. Anyone who can help should could detectives on the non emergency number 101, quoting reference number 1180 of 14/03/18.”

Warning people to be wary of possible scams, the detective added: “Scammers are creative and will do whatever they can to con people out of money. Police would advise people to always err on the side of caution.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”