Briton defrauds Dordogne expats out of millions

31st January 2006, Comments 0 comments

BERGERAC, France, Jan 31, 2006 (AFP) - Police in France's Dordogne region are hunting for a Briton suspected of defrauding elderly expatriates — including five Britons and two Americans — of several million euros, legal officials said Tuesday.

BERGERAC, France, Jan 31, 2006 (AFP) - Police in France's Dordogne region are hunting for a Briton suspected of defrauding elderly expatriates — including five Britons and two Americans — of several million euros, legal officials said Tuesday.

Posing as a financial advisor, the man is accused of fleecing some EUR 2 million from seven foreigners and two French women in the southwestern region between 2000 and 2004.

Known locally under the false name of Graham Templeton, he was described by the local newspaper Sud Ouest as "a smooth-talking 40-something-year-old".

The paper said he had arrived in the Dordogne in 1999, and settled in quickly — making friends among the region's community of expatriate retirees.

Homing in on wealthy, non-French speakers, he offered his victims returns of up to 15 percent on bogus investments based in the Channel Islands, managing to swindle EUR 810,000 out of one of the retirees.

All the cheques were made out to the French bank Société Générale, but were in fact paid directly into the man's personal account, according to Sud Ouest.

An investigation for fraud and forgery was opened and a warrant issued for the man's arrest, after the victims took legal action against him last June, according to the prosecutor's office in Bergerac.

The victims have also taken legal action against Société Générale, for failing to block the fraudulent transactions.

A lawyer for the bank said the man appeared to have used forged Société Générale letterhead to set up the scam, and that an investigation was under way.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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