Betting Fraud Conman and Serial Impersonator Allegedly Scammed Nearly 100 Victims
Posted on: April 21, 2019, 01:13h.
Last updated on: April 21, 2019, 01:13h.
A businessman who was duped into plowing £400,000 ($520,000) into a bogus betting scheme orchestrated by conman Chris Beek has spoken of the devastating impact of the scam on his life and says he believes there are many more victims out there.
Richard Roberts told the Birmingham Live that Beek had left him close to broke and reliant on handouts from friends and family. He also blames the fraudster for the break-up of his 15-year marriage.
Beek, who adopted fake personalities to cover his tracks, was imprisoned for almost six years last week by a judge in Warwick, UK, for entangling dozens of people in his fake betting syndicate with promises of generous returns on their investments.”
“It was a three-year sophisticated fraud,” said the judge. “The web of lies has been hard to unravel. There was a bewildering cast of fictitious persons, betting systems, internet accounts, and then, using your own name and six other names, you wove a web of deception.”
Beek bamboozled his victims with an endless procession of characters, each played by himself – and even adopted the persona of a private detective and convinced victims to hire him at great expense him to track himself down.
Unsurprisingly, Beek’s private detective character failed to locate Beek the conman or to return victims’ money, as promised. But just in case we’re tempted to admire his chutzpah, Roberts highlights the trail of destruction the callous fraudster left in his wake.
While Beek was convicted of bilking several victims out of £204,000 ($256,000),Roberts lost more than that alone, and believes the total figure is much, much more. A Facebook page set up by Roberts as a platform for victims to come forward has uncovered just under 100 people who claim they are owed a combined £1.6 million ($2 million).
Roberts was first caught in Beek’s web when the conman advised him to put a few pounds on a horse, which won. Impressed, Roberts began buying tips from Beek, but now believes he was being groomed for a big con.
“After six months, he said, ‘If you want a monthly £4,000 ($5,200) income, give me £25,000 ($32,000),’ Roberts said. “It worked and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Now, I realise he was taking money from other people to pay me.”
Beek is a former jockey, whose dreams of racing success were shattered by injury. He later became a trainer and a racehorse owner but lost his yard and horses in 2013. He hoodwinked victims with talk of bookie-busting computer systems, and also offered opportunities to invest in an illusory wine business.
He invented at least ten alter egos to aid the deception, including one, racing tipster “Alan Nugent” who – in a bizarre taped phone call played in court – spent 45 minutes berating himself, Beek, and his shoddy handicapping abilities.
“He is so plausible on the phone with stories of his connections,” he explains. “For some stupid reason, I befriended him. In all honesty, I’m not used to people telling me blatant, bare-faced lies.
“It pains me to say it, but I don’t think he started off intending to hurt people. He believed his own bull****.