Investigation By Rob Horgan, Joe Duggan and Laurence Dollimore
HE’S posed as an MI6 agent, seduced dozens of women out of millions of pounds and been on the run for much of his life.
Well-spoken and privately educated Mark Acklom drives expensive cars (Porsches, BMWs and Bentleys), watches Ascot from the Royal Enclosure – kitted out in top hat and waistcoat – and dines at the world’s top restaurants.
To all intents and purposes, he is a wealthy businessman who lives the high-life with a perennial smile stretched across his face.
The reality: Acklom is one of Britain’s most wanted fugitives and his catalogue of scams is rivalled only by Hollywood’s greatest fraudsters.
A compulsive liar and professional swindler, Acklom, from Bromley, UK, has created a false reality in which the world is at his feet.
And, unwaveringly convincing, dozens of people have swallowed his tall stories and fallen for his devilish tricks. He probably even believes it himself.
Depending on who he’s talking to, he is a property developer, a banker, event manager or gynaecologist.
And for each new profession, there are two or three different names: Marc Ros, Mark Ross, Zack Moss, Dr Mark Ros and Don Marc Ros are just some of the aliases he is known to have given.
At the helm of countless property and investment scams around the world, Acklom has most recently been operating in Murcia and on the Costa Blanca, the Olive Press has discovered.
But his time is running out after being placed on a list of Britain’s Most Wanted fugitives.
Of the 10 named in the latest installment of Operation Captura last month, Acklom has garnered the most intrigue, taking up countless column inches in national newspapers in the UK and Spain.
Sought over defrauding an ex-girlfriend out of €950,000 after posing as an MI6 agent, there is now a European Arrest Warrant on his head, as well as a €22,000 reward for his arrest.
Unlike the paedophiles, rapists and drug dealers that appear on the list, Acklom’s criminal activities are in a completely different league… in fact, he is not even playing the same sport.
After tracking down, staking out and helping police capture most wanted suspected paedophile Matthew Sammon last issue, the Olive Press went straight on the scent of Acklom.
Following a tip-off that he was still involved with his Spanish wife Maria Yolanda Ros Rodriguez, we linked her to a new real estate company in the centre of Murcia.
Registered under the name of Yolanda Ros – adopting her hubby’s trick of mixing up her name – Ross Luxury Estate Agents was set up in April, conveniently just one month after Acklom was released from prison in the UK for a Chelsea apartments con.
On LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media sites, Ros names herself as the Managing Partner of the company, which also ‘operates’ in Madrid.
A sales member of staff at La Manga golf club until she left in January this year, Rodriguez claims that her new real estate venture has links with an established Swiss racing-car team. Unsurprisingly, that team had never heard of Ros or Acklom when contacted.
When the Olive Press visited the registered office in Murcia there was no sniff of the couple or even a sign on the door for Ross Luxury Estate Agents.
A financial adviser in the adjacent office said he collected the company’s mail for Ros, who he met a year ago when she still worked for La Manga club.
“I helped her to set up the address here, but there was never a place for them here. It’s an address for them to pick up their mail,” he said.
“I have heard a lot of complaints. I have heard that their clients are not happy with them. In recent weeks there have been many people looking for them. I decided to stop picking up their mail two weeks ago.”
He said he last saw the pair together over the summer at the golf resort.
In fact, the Olive Press can reveal that they were staying in a rented property in La Manga as recently as last month.
A former colleague of Ros told the Olive Press ‘they left two weeks ago’.
Agents at an estate agents firm at La Manga said the couple had come in looking to buy a house in the resort over the summer.
“He was pretending to have a lot of money. He said he had a massive house in Switzerland but I knew he did not have any money,” an agent told the Olive Press.
“He said he was a marketing director at the big advertising firm McCann Erickson. But he used a completely different name. He called himself Mark Long.”
A barman at nearby pub The Last Drop told the Olive Press that when Acklom fled the family’s rented flat at La Manga’s Buenavista ‘he didn’t pay his rent’ and ‘left behind a lot of debt’.
The Olive Press also discovered Acklom’s wife owned a flat on Cartagena’s Calle Bodegones before selling it in February 2014. Neighbours were unaware of her current whereabouts.
Acklom’s ties to Spain stretch back over 20 years.
It was the late 1990s when Acklom first came to Spain, but he quickly left his mark on the country and by 1998 he had served two years for a fraud involving unpaid hotel rooms on the Costa Blanca.
The Brit was arrested again six years later in Benidorm for a con in which he posed as the head of a real estate consortium, when he did not own the land he said he would build on.
Court documents also show Acklom appeared in a Alicante court in 2006 over an art fraud.
Most recently he was locked up by Cartagena court for a €14 million property scam in 2015 for conning two brothers out of €225,000.
Prosecutor Miguel Pouget Bastida confirmed that Acklom changed his name to Mark Long by deed poll in Britain last year, the third time he has done so.
Pouget’s clients, Francisco Legaz Cervantes and Domingo Legaz Cervantes, worked with Fundacion Diagrama, a Spanish non-profit organisation that helps vulnerable people.
Acklom met the men in 2008, claiming to be the son of an incredibly wealthy Lloyds banker.
Boasting he had three London flats worth €9.8 million in Chelsea Wharf’s Cheyne Apartments to sell, Acklom used a fake sales price list he had forged from a Knight Frank property list to convince the brothers of his credentials.
Operating alongside his then-girlfriend Josefina Rebollo Munoz, Acklom was hauled before a Spanish court in 2009 along with his accomplice after Pouget discovered the deeds to the flat sale were fake.
The lawyer recommended an eight-year sentence, but before he could be tried and jailed Acklom fled.
Court documents show that while on the run he married Maria Yolanda Ros Rodriguez in Totana, Murcia on March 4 2009, changing his name again the following month to Marc Ros Rodriguez.
An Interpol warrant was issued for Acklom’s arrest and he was finally tracked down to the Italian port of Genoa in November, 2014 and deported to Spain where he served 18 months behind bars.
“I love so much catching conmen,” said Pouget. “But this is the case has had me working even harder.
“Mark has an incredible capacity for fantasy. But I think he talks too much.”
While in prison, Acklom revealed to a fellow convict that he had gold bars buried in Spain as a ‘form of insurance’.
A serial fraudster, the 43-year-old scams began in childhood when he stole his mum Diana’s mink coat so he could sell it.
At 16, he stole his father’s American Express card and racked up a €12,000 bill before posing as a stockbroker in a €1.2 million fraud.
In a career that has spanned four decades he has left a trail of broken hearts as he targets vulnerable women.
One former associate said: “He loves making women fall in love with him. He gets a kick out of having them buy wedding dresses for a ceremony he knows will never take place because he’ll have vanished. In the decade I knew him, he fooled more than 50 women.”
In blog posts, Acklom repeatedly denies many of his crimes and moans about harassment from the law and from ‘people pretending to be the police’.
He pleads: “I have paid my time and it is absurd to be paying for that again and again.”
Insisting he has ‘a life-threatening illness’ he claims to live a quiet life working on his autobiography.
Wherever he is, that autobiography is sure to be one hell of a read.
Do you know his whereabouts? Contact us at newsdesk @theolivepress.es