COSTA del Sol businessman Nigel Goldman is on trial in the UK for swindling two men out of £12,000.
Now called Howard del Monte, he sold rare coins on eBay which were never delivered before having a scuffle with one of the angry customers outside his Berkshire home, Reading Crown Court heard.
The 58-year-old was arrested and charged with three counts of fraud after concerned customers failed to receive the coins and did not have their large sums of money refunded.
Police detained him at his home, seizing his computer and a steel box full of gold coins in March 2014.
The story was initially reported in the Olive Press 20 months ago, when we revealed Goldman had changed his name by deed poll to ‘Howard del Monte’ after relocating to the UK and was being investigated by Thames Valley police over the coins.
He previously appeared regularly in newspapers and radio stations while living in Marbella, and was a regular on the poker table at Marbella Casino.
Using an eBay account named Bensons Emporium, he had advertised South African Krugerrand coins and Elizabeth II sovereign coins which his partner had ‘inherited’.
Nicholas Cooper, prosecuting, told jurors that Australian victim Lee Cubit paid for three Krugerrands, none of which he received.
“On March 5 2014 Mr Cubit paid £813.30 for a 22 carat gold South African Krugerrand coin, which he purchased online using his PayPal account,” Mr Cooper said.
“The next day he contacted the seller directly by email because he was interested in buying more.
“He received a response from this defendant, Howard Del Monte, on March 7 who said he was contacting Mr Cubit on behalf of his partner who had inherited a number of the coins from her family.”
The court heard that Del Monte told Mr Cubit, a jeweller from Australia, that his partner had inherited a large amount of gold Sovereign coins as well as more Krugerrand coins.
“That same day, Mr Cubit emailed back saying he was interested in buying two more of the Krugerrand coins for the same price each as the first,” Mr Cooper continued.
“Mr Del Monte replied saying he could have two more and sent over his bank details. He then asked Mr Cubit to transfer him an additional £1,612 direct.”
The coins never arrived and Cubit filed a report with Thames Valley Police.
A second victim, named in court as Mr Shephard, also came across Del Monte’s eBay page towards the end of March 2014 and bid for a gold coin.
Mr Shephard became the successful winner of the bid and paid, through PayPal, £785 for the coin.
Mr Cooper said: “Mr Shephard received that coin and was happy with it. He then received an email from Mr Del Monte saying he was the executor of a large estate that had many more coins to sell.”
Shephard agreed to purchase 40 Elizabeth II gold coins and a further two Krugerrand coins, with a total value of £9,250, and pay the money directly into Del Monte’s account to avoid extra fees.
Del Monte gave him his address to pick them up from, but then started making excuses as to why he could not come.
The jury heard that on May 17 Mr Shephard turned up at Del Monte’s address but found he wasn’t home.
“He later arrived home in his car, but then drove off again when he saw Mr Shephard,” Mr Cooper said.
“This was repeated a number of times and Mr Del Monte threatened to call the police. Likewise, Mr Shephard called the police.
“At around 8:50pm Mr Shephard saw Mr Del Monte walking towards him. Mr Shephard tried to film their discussions on his mobile phone, but the phone was snatched and a scuffle broke out between the two men.
“Mr Del Monte called the police and said he had been attacked by Mr Shephard.
“When Police Constable Drewitt from Thames Valley Police arrived she noticed some scratches on Mr Shephard and watched the footage he had filmed on his phone before taking him to Hungerford police station to give a statement.”
Matthew Hardiman, defending Del Monte, asked Mr Cubit if he had contacted eBay or PayPal to receive a refund for the payment of the first coin, which had been processed through them.
He said he had not, as he did not realise they had a guarantee system in place.
Mr Hardiman told the jury that Del Monte’s eBay account had up to 35,000 positive reviews from customers who had been happy with the purchases they had made.
“You yourself were satisfied so that within a couple days you were happy to buy a further two coins, and made a private arrangement with Mr Del Monte,” he added.
Del Monte denied three counts of fraud at a previous hearing.
The trial continues.
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