A BRITISH expat accused of conning people out of €6.6 million in an online escort agency and debt-elimination scam has gone on trial this week.
Costa del Sol based Toni Muldoon, 66, allegedly conned people into signing up to act as ‘non-sexual’ companions with the promise of earning up to €700 a day.
Clients paid an upfront fee of over €400 but never received any work.
The former timeshare boss has already pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy to defraud but five people he allegedly employed denied any wrong-doing at Ipswich Crown Court.
It has also emerged that various Olive Press stories were mentioned during the trail revealed a BBC journalist covering it.
The group is also accused of laundering millions of euros from the UK to Spanish bank accounts.
One of his codefendants Bradley Rogers, 29, from Fuengirola, is said to have been Muldoon’s right-hand man and received £750,000 into his account.
A string of bogus agencies were set up using names such as AdoraBelles, Beautiful Adults and European Escorts.
The upfront fees were then transferred through a network of false companies and the promised ‘dates’ never took place.
“These cases involve the advance fee fraud,” said the prosecutor.
“You pay something upfront for something you never get. It was a complete scam,” he added.
Muldoon is also accused of masterminding another scam in which the group cold-called people and promised to eliminate their debt.
“People who were caught by this fraud were people who were very desperate,” added the prosecution.
“They had vast credit card debts. They were persuaded to put more money on their credit cards to get rid of debt.
“This fraud is about promising debt elimination that simply does not exist.”
Muldoon is said to have hired former police detective, Christopher Taylor, 57, to launder funds from the fraud through his company bank account.
Also accused in the case is Colin Samuels, 61, Mark Bell, 41, and Geraldine French, 60.
The court also heard that it was Rogers who chose the names for the escort websites and organized adverts in papers such as the Daily Star.
The case is expected to last eight weeks.