INFAMOUS fraudster Nigel Goldman has been found guilty of defrauding online shoppers out of more than €10,000 in a gold coin eBay scam.
Now called Howard del Monte, the shameless 58-year-old was arrested and charged with fraud in May last year after the enraged customers failed to receive their goods.
The overweight conman, who is also wanted in Spain, was found guilty of two counts of fraud by a jury at Reading Crown Court today.
He was cleared of a third count, relating to a further eBay transaction, after deliberating for nearly four and a half hours.
Now it can be revealed that Del Monte is also wanted by authorities in Spain over an elaborate Ponzi scheme, after he fled the country two years ago and left victims owed millions in his wake.
The poker lover, who has previously been jailed twice for fraud and wrote a book ‘High Stakes’ about it, promised punters huge returns on their investments in firms based in Morocco.
But after losing an estimated €3million of investors’ money, he fled his luxury Marbella villa and returned to the UK, with lawyers and victims appealing for his whereabouts.
Although he claimed to be worried about being extradited back to Spain, Del Monte didn’t lie low for long and soon set up an online business to trade rare British Sovereign gold coins.
Through an eBay account called Bensons Emporium, he got back to swindling innocent people from his home in Kintbury, West Berkshire.
But it was at this point which the Olive Press tracked him down via the details associated with the eBay account and paid him a visit.
The unapologetic Goldman, who had recently changed his official name to Howard del Monte, refused to come to the door and simply called out of the top floor window that he had ‘nothing to say’.
He later sobbed to a local paper, Newbury Today, that he feared hitmen were coming to kill him.
But his victims did not give up the quest for justice, and 20 months later the larger than life character – who counts James Hewitt as a friend – was finally in the dock.
The two customers who took their complaints to Thames Valley Police were sucked in by his claims that he was selling a number of South African Krugerrand (corr) coins and Elizabeth II sovereign coins.
One man, Australia-based Lee Cubit, forked out €2,288 for two of the Krugerrands and another, Mr Shephard coughed up €13,128 for 40 sovereigns and a further two Krugerrands.
Both men asked for their money back when they didn’t receive the coins and contacted police when the defendant stopped replying to their messages, having done so quite readily when agreeing the bogus sales.
Del Monte, from Birmingham, insisted that he had sent out the coins but Cubit didn’t receive his because Royal Mail had failed to attach the correct postage to the order for their passage Down Under.
He did however admit to lying over the fact he had inherited the coins from his partner, Suzanne Couling’s, family, telling jurors he had made the claims to create ‘advertising spin’ and make them ‘more attractive to buyers’.
Del Monte conceded the lies were ‘stupid in hindsight’.
Del Monte was released on bail by Judge Ian Grainger and is due back at Reading Crown Court to be sentenced on January 8 2016.
Meanwhile, multiple complaints have been lodged about Del Monte to fraud and internet crime investigators in the UK.
On top of that, Marbella-based lawyer Antonio Flores told the Olive Press he is aware of ’10 or 12′ complaints about the serial conman that have been made to the Marbella National Police since December 2013, and that he allegedly owes the complainants up to €3million.