Romance fraudster conned women out of £300k

Cieran McNamara posed as a wealthy property owner to trick his victims

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BBC News West Midlands

3 hours ago

A romance fraudster who lived a lavish lifestyle using more than £300,000 which he conned from women has been jailed.

Posing as a successful businessman, Cieran McNamara preyed on four wealthy women from across the UK and tricked them into believing they were in a loving relationship, police said.

He would then fake a crisis to manipulate his victims into sending him large sums of money, Chester Crown Court heard.

The 37-year-old, from Coventry, was sentenced on Tuesday to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to four charges of fraud by false representation.

He found his victims online and in exclusive clubs

“McNamara is a serial fraudster, and I truly believe that he cannot tell the difference between reality and fantasy,” said Det Con Victoria Hazlewood, of Cheshire Constabulary.

“He convinced his victims that he was a millionaire with properties across the country, but in reality, he was unemployed and living out of a suitcase.”

McNamara, who was also known as Ciaran Griffin, Christian McNamara and Myles McNamara met the women through a variety of methods including online and in exclusive hotels and clubs.

He swindled them into believing he had a high value property portfolio by showing them pictures of himself at mansions in London and Cheshire.

He also shared images of him travelling first class across the world and would also flood the women with gifts, weekends away and take them out for expensive meals, police said.

However, unbeknownst to the victims, he was using money he had scammed from other women to fund his lifestyle.

McNamara lived a lavish lifestyle using money he swindled from other women

In total, between 1 September 2022 and 25 September last year, McNamara manipulated four women in Cheshire, Warwickshire and Hertfordshire to hand over £302,054.26.

His ruse was rumbled when his victim in Cheshire realised what he was doing and reported her concerns to police.

He was arrested in Colchester on 28 September following an investigation by detectives from the Cheshire Constabulary Economic Crime Unit.

He was subsequently charged with four counts of fraud by false representation.

A raid of a storage unit rented by McNamara uncovered about £19,500 worth of new goods – including a £1,900 Burberry Coat, a £400 Burberry Scarf, Gucci trainers and a Ping golf set.

Inquiries to locate other assets belonging to him are ongoing and the items recovered will be subject to a proceeds of crime hearing.

McNamara has been jailed for seven years after pleading guilty to the charges

At the sentencing, Judge Simon Berkson said McNamara’s offending history was a significant aggravating factor, with many similar offences in the past.

He also said McNamara was a real risk into the future, as he had very little sympathy for his victims.

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