With his wealth, glamorous lifestyle and friends in high places, Jonathan Price probably seemed too good to be true.
Unfortunately for the women who fell for his charms, that’s exactly what he was.
The serial conman posed as a rich ‘sugar daddy’ to trap a string of professional women and fleece them for tens of thousands of pounds.
The penniless 41-year-old told his targets he was a multi-millionaire and even bragged of being friends with billionaire Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky.
The women – met on a website called sugardaddies.com – encouraged their elderly parents to help when Price said he had minor cash-flow problems.
The 41-year-old’s lies included claims that he served in the SAS and the Parachute Regiment, had property overseas and owned speedboats and luxury cars.
Teesside Crown Court heard that Price was really a penniless “serial” fraudster who has left a trail of victims traumatised and facing financial ruin.
Legal papers describe him as “callous” and say “deception is so deeply engrained in his mind” he was planning his next con while in jail for the last.
Price has seven previous convictions for dishonesty from across the UK over the last 20 years and has served four prison sentences.
Prosecutors branded his lifestyle “absurd” and said the crimes “seem to have been committed to maintain his entirely false image of being a multi-millionaire”.
He produced fake bank account paperwork to convince his victims he had fortunes tucked away – providing sham security for loans he would ask them for.
Bearded Price dated a number of his victims at the same time, using money swindled from one to pay for posh meals and trips abroad with another.
Each time his web of deceit appeared to be unravelling, he would quickly leave and claim to be unwell or say he had been involved in an accident.
Price claimed to live on Sandbanks – the south coast millionaires’ island alongside football boss Harry Redknapp – and made an offer on a £5m property.
He also boasted of being a friend of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky – an exiled critic of president Vladmir Putin, who was found dead at the weekend.
Price claimed to be having trouble freeing some of his fortune from overseas accounts to get advances from his girlfriends and their families.
In total, he fleeced more than £180,000 from three women and their parents, as well as estate agents, car and boat dealers and businessmen.
After he pleaded guilty to a catalogue of fraud offences, Price’s barrister, Peter Sabiston said: “He knows he faces a substantial custodial sentence.”
Judge Michael Taylor said: “He is as dishonest as the day is long. He is a conman first and foremost.”
He told Mr Sabiston, who asked for an adjournment for medical reports: “If he is hoping to pull the wool over my eyes, he’s in the wrong court room.”
Mr Sabiston told the judge: “He is unsure because of the lies he has told, what is true and what is fantasy. He does seem to lead a life of fantasy.”
Source The Northern Echo