Suspected Dordogne con man arrested in UK

31st May 2006, Comments 0 comments

BERGERAC, France, May 30, 2006 (AFP) - A Briton suspected of defrauding elderly expatriates in south-west France of several million euros has been arrested in Britain, French legal sources said Tuesday.

BERGERAC, France, May 30, 2006 (AFP) - A Briton suspected of defrauding elderly expatriates in south-west France of several million euros has been arrested in Britain, French legal sources said Tuesday.

Nicholas Jacquet, prosecutor for Bergerac in Dordogne, said the suspect had been arrested on May 27 and was being held in custody in England. He has refused to be extradited to France, where he is wanted on fraud charges.

"He appeared before a tribunal in London and refused to be extradited. The case has been put back for two weeks," the prosecutor said, adding that British police had acted on a European arrest warrant issued by a judge in Bergerac.

The man, known locally under the false name of Graham Templeton, is accused of fleecing some EUR 2 million from seven foreigners and two French women in the region between 2000 and 2004.

Local newspaper Sud Ouest, which described him as "a smooth-talking 40-something-year-old", 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 810,000 euros out of one of the retirees.

All the cheques were made out to the French bank Societe Generale, 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 a 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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