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Fraudster jailed for luxury holiday villa scam

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A Croydon conman who juggled several identities has been jailed after scamming 13 families of over £100,000 for luxury holiday villas which did not exist.

Andrew Viscount Ryder, 47, of Essex Grove, Croydon, pled guilty at the Old Bailey to 13 offences of fraud by false representation, and was jailed for two years with a confiscation order.

He had made £122,158 by luring victims into booking false holiday lets in the south of France and Verbier, Switzerland, and was arrested after being traced through one of his multiple bank accounts.

Benedict Fitzgerald, prosecuting, told the court Ryder, who changed his name to Viscount Ryder by deed poll, had used five different names and bank accounts, advertising luxury villas on three websites between March 2008 and June 2009.

Mr Fitzgerald said the holiday lets, one of which was claimed to be the Villa Rouge in Cannes, did not exist.

After paying substantial deposits and final payments of thousands of pounds, holidaymakers found they were unable to contact Ryder. One victim had booked the holiday after the death of her father, and another family had already paid for flights, before discovering it was a scam.

The Old Bailey heard that Ryder, who has no previous convictions, had spent the money on drinking and educating his daughter abroad, and was now unemployed with debts up to £15,000.

Suzanne Francis, defending, said Ryder had become an alcoholic after losing his life savings of £158,000 in a bad investment.

Detective Superintendent Bob Wishart, of the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate, said: “Ryder used the promise of luxurious villas in exotic locations to trick people into handing him their savings. In doing so, he destroyed family holidays and damaged the reputations of legitimate businesses.”

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One Response to Fraudster jailed for luxury holiday villa scam

  1. andrea

    September 4, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Be very wary of booking villas without speaking directly to the owners. I booked a villa (villa consuela fuerteventura) through http://www.ownersdirect.co.uk by using the enquiry form on the site, the enquiry was then sent to the villa owner whose email account had been hacked. i received an email from sunnyrentalsspain@yahoo who posed as the property company, they answered all my questions and i booked the villa and paid for it using bank transfer. a week before the holiday i had another question and when i emailed a few times at got no response i finally phoned the contact number and spoke to the real owners who knew nothing about our booking. I ended up with no villa and the best part of a thousand pounds down. seems nobody will take liability for my data being mishandled. the police are investigating but i doubt i’ll ever see my money again.

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