EXCLUSIVE by Imogen Calderwood
A TRANSATLANTIC fraudster who swindled his victims out of nearly €100 million is fearing for his life as his release date is brought forward to Christmas Day.
Briton Richard Pope is currently serving time in America, after he was convicted of running a boiler room operation that conned unsuspecting expats around Spain.
But his five year jail sentence has been dramatically reduced after he provided ‘extensive and substantial assistance’ to the investigation, according to court papers obtained by the Olive Press.
Pope, who was arrested in Barcelona in 2010, also spent ‘a full two weeks’ aiding police in Spain on a number of other swindles and conmen, reveal the intriguing documents.
It is understood he may have provided information on the illegal schemes of convicted fraudster Nigel Goldman, who fled Spain a year ago.
The pair were close, and it was a mutual friend of theirs – a Costa del Sol radio presenter – who gave a character reference at Pope’s US trial in 2013.
But the 57-year-old is said to be in fear of his life after testifying against his co-defendants, fellow Britons Paul Gunter and Simon Odoni.
The former insurance salesman from St. Albans insisted that he had exposed himself ‘to dangers of retaliation’ from Odoni, in particular, who is serving 13 years in prison.
The trio were handed a combined sentence of more than 42 years in July 2013, for their involvement in a global network of fraudsters, based in Spain, the UK and America.
According to Pope’s lawyer Mark Rankin, Odoni has made it clear he faces ‘retaliation’ for being a ‘snitch’.
“Pope has lived in fear that Odoni would convince an inmate to harm him or take some other violent tack,” said Rankin.
The trio cheated hundreds of investors – mostly Britons – out of millions of euros in exchange for worthless stocks between 2004 and 2008.
Pope who was described as one of the ‘masterminds’ of the gang, performed tasks, such as providing contacts and managing the offices.
Police seized assets totaling nearly €34 million from the gang, including numerous properties in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Dominican Republic.
A private aircraft, several luxury cars – including a Ferrari Daytona Spider – and a 55-ft boat were also seized, along with 39 bank accounts.