1 Dec, 2023 @ 15:30
2 mins read

EXCLUSIVE: Notorious British conman who ‘stole millions from expats’ on Spain’s Costa del Sol is back behind bars

Have you been a victim of Chris O’Hare? Get in touch at newsdesk@theolivepress.es

HE has mostly gone under the radar as far as expats and regular visitors to the Costa del Sol are concerned.

But one of the coast’s most seasoned fraudsters is back behind bars after years of scamming that, it is understood, left dozens of people robbed of millions. 

The Olive Press can reveal that Christopher O’Hare was finally sent back to prison after being double-crossed by a pal in September.

He was being sought by police for failing to serve his four-year sentence over a multi-million euro property fraud in the Marbella area against a Dubai-based Lighthouse mutual fund.

According to his ex-girlfriend, Sara, cops raided his luxury rented Estepona beachfront bolthole and sent him straight back to prison.

The 47-year-old Manchester native has had a long and chequered career running property and renewable energy scams, according to Marbella lawyer Israel Romero.

“He is incredibly prolific,” said Romero, who prosecuted him over the €4 million theft from the Lighthouse Mutual Fund in 2018.

“He was in jail in Sweden around 2012 over a solar panel scam and has been scamming in Poland and the UK. Then he came to Spain.”

One expat victim, Hayley Saker, 41, was conned out of €50,000 after her business partner met O’Hare in a sports bar in Marbella in 2020.

O’Hare convinced them that he had access to funds for a ‘development project’ and through ‘skillful manipulation’ convinced them to put up more and more of their own cash.

“He formed friendships with people that seemed so genuine that it was actually quite scary,” Saker, herself a developer, told the Olive Press.

“He was extremely manipulative and always had some fantastically believable reasons for all the suspicious things he did,” she added.

Hayley Saker with Chris O’Hare

The project however, came crashing down and all the funds went up in smoke when O’Hare was hauled back to jail in 2021 after absconding while on parole over the Lighthouse case. 

“The police actually knocked on the door at 7am, barged through and arrested him,” said Hayley, who is based in Sotogrande.

Incredibly, O’Hare then absconded a second time, according to lawyer Romero.

Another victim, Jaron Brouwer, 39, fell for a similar scam for €30,000 around the same time.

UK-based Brouwer was approached by O’Hare on Instagram looking for development projects.

Jaron Brouwer with a mate and Chris O’Hare in a Marbella chiringuito

“He reached out asking if I needed funding and said he had plenty of finance in place,” he told the Olive Press

“There were many of us involved in this one particular project in Cambridge and Chris was somehow playing all of us at the same time,” he added. “He was like some sort of criminal mastermind.”

The former British infantry soldier added: “He seems to take between €10,000 and €15,000 off people, and that’s what he lives off, splurging it in Puerto Banus.”

Despite his career as a professional conman, O’Hare’s only known conviction in Spain was for the Lighthouse fund – much to the surprise of his numerous victims.


Walter Finch

Walter - or Walt to most people - is a former and sometimes still photographer and filmmaker who likes to dig under the surface.
A NCTJ-trained journalist, he came to the Costa del Sol - Gibraltar hotspot from the Daily Mail in 2022 to report on organised crime, corruption, financial fraud and a little bit of whatever is going on.
Got a story? walter@theolivepress.es

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