Britain’s Tindler Swindler: Serial romance fraudster who duped woman he met on dating app into parting with £200,000 by claiming he was a millionaire in Singapore is jailed
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Two women lost more than £400,000 after falling for a conman and serial fraudster posing as a fabulously wealthy businessman, a court heard.

Former car salesman Marc Raven, 61, met Yorkshire grandmother Janet Pye through a dating app. She subsequently gave up her job, sold her home, funded expensive foreign trips and even married him in Las Vegas.

During the ill-fated 18-month relationship he conned her out of up to £320,000 ultimately and she had to declare herself bankrupt, York Crown Court was told.

Detectives launched an inquiry and found a second woman in Singapore who had fallen for Raven’s charms before he targeted Ms Pye.

Janice Tan was the victim of a time-share scam and Raven wined and dined her after claiming to be an investigator with the job of recouping the lost cash.

Former car salesman Marc Raven, 61, met Yorkshire grandmother Janet Pye through a dating app and conned her out of £320,000

Former car salesman Marc Raven, 61, met Yorkshire grandmother Janet Pye through a dating app and conned her out of £320,000 

Instead, he took her for everything she had. He tricked her into sending £108,000 when he claimed to be seriously ill in Dubai and needing the cash to pay for medical bills.

Raven, of Newcastle Upon Tyne, admitted two frauds and was jailed for eight years.

The court heard he has an appalling criminal history with previous convictions for 58 offences. They include thefts from former employers and obtaining property by deception while working as a car salesman.

Judge Simon Hickey branded Raven a ‘thoroughly dishonest’ man and described his offences past and present as ‘nasty and disgusting.’

He said he didn’t believe Raven was remorseful, adding: ‘You haven’t changed any of your spots. Like a stick of rock, dishonesty seems to run through your life.’

The judge told Raven: ‘Both of these women trusted you implicitly because they thought they were entering into a real romantic relationship. Emotionally and financially, they have been destroyed by your behaviour.’

Prosecutor Carmel Pearson said Raven met Ms Pye in January 2018 and they married that October.

He encouraged her to sell her £320,000 flat in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, convincing her they would soon be buying a property worth over £1 million.

During a 12-month period she transferred more than £200,000 into his account and the court heard he fleeced her out of between £212,000 and £320,000. In total Ms Pye ran up costs of £393,000 as a result of falling for Raven, as she funded the spending, took out loans and ran up debt.

She was duped into funding a multi-millionaire’s lifestyle.

Ms Pearson said Raven seemed ‘kind, generous and thoughtful’ and claimed to have made a fortune buying and selling properties.

After just three months she accepted his marriage proposal.

‘She was, by then, in love with him and trusted him wholeheartedly,’ added Ms Pearson.

She spent most of her time in the home that Raven said he owned in an affluent part of Yarm in Teesside, but in fact he was only renting it and was in arrears with rent.

Ms Pye agreed to give up her job and her mortgage-free home to commit totally to a life with Raven.

York Crown Court heard Mr Raven has an appalling criminal history with previous convictions for 58 offences

York Crown Court heard Mr Raven has an appalling criminal history with previous convictions for 58 offences

Alarm bells should have rung when he invited her and her family to his holiday home in the Canary Islands, but no villa existed and they went to a hotel.

Back in the UK he showed his fiancée around expensive properties he wanted to buy, claiming to have £4m in the bank.

He said his cash was ‘tied up overseas’.

When they married in Las Vegas it was the bride that paid for the expensive trip, the court heard.

Costs included a Cartier watch, designer handbags and shoes for her, on the understanding Raven would pay her back.

Convincing her they could spend up to £1.8 million on a new house, they made an offer for a property, only for Raven to pull out of the deal, due to a ‘difficulty’ with the current owners.

When he was responsible for another property bid falling through, Ms Pye had already bought furniture.

They also visited Paris and Geneva, on Ms Pye’s expense, so he could ‘free up frozen funds.’

But on their return he lied that a solicitor had ’embezzled the money.’

‘She was told that when his money came through, he would give her £500,000 to cover all the expenditure they incurred,’ said Ms Pearson.

By this time her two adult children were becoming concerned about her spending – which caused a family rift. Raven tried to smooth things over by giving them a cheque for £20,000, but they bounced.

A cheque he gave Ms Pye also bounced.

Raven also persuaded his wife to give him £25,000 for a Jaguar, only for him to disappear and return with a much less valuable car.

By October 2019 Ms Pye was heavily in debt and started demanding answers – prompting Raven to disappear.

The court heard she felt ‘betrayed by a man she loved and remained deeply shocked, empty and hurt’ because he had taken ‘all that she owned.’ She was effectively homeless and relying on the generosity of family and friends.

Police began investigating and came across Ms Tan, who had lost her life savings in a similar manner to Raven over a two-year period from 2016.

He wined and dined her in Singapore, claiming to own a new property there and in Spain.

Raven left suddenly in May 2017 but contacted her to say he was ill in Dubai after collapsing with high blood pressure.

The conman persuaded her to send him £107,000 over a year-long period to cover medical bills and other costs.

He promised to pay her back but never did and eventually became uncontactable.

Outside court Detective Constable Neil Brodhurst of North Yorkshire Police said his deceptions had ‘shattered lives.’

He warned: ‘Financial abuse is a form of domestic abuse. It can happen to anyone of any age. Sometimes it can take a long time for victims to realise what is happening. But if you feel uncomfortable about how someone you know is behaving with your money, they may be financially abusing you.’

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