Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Fraudster to be stripped of ill-gotten gains.
A conman’s hoard of luxuries is to be sold on eBay so he can be stripped of his ill-gotten assets.
Kevin Castle swindled more than £100,000 in a cunning identity theft swindle but is likely to be ordered to repay just £5,000.
His home at a rented farmhouse in Somerset was packed with top-of-the-range televisions and furniture which are to be sold online by the police.
He also had a stables with six horses and tack and saddles are among the items which are to be sold.
Castle has a 30-year-long history of fraud and has been nicknamed The Claridges Conman and The Casanova Conman because of his past exploits.
His latest swindle involved following post vans around country lanes in Devon and Somerset and watching as mail was delivered to unguarded boxes at the end of isolated drives.
He then used details from the official documents which he snatched to apply for credit cards in the names of the home owners.
Castle then intercepted the cards from the mailboxes and used them to run up massive bills in other peoples’ names.
He was caught after a horrified victim was sent a bill for a credit card which he knew nothing about and turned detective to track down the swindler.
Roofer Steve Bloomfield set up a secret camera to watch his mailbox and caught Castle red handed, allowing police to track him down.
Castle, 47, of West Buckland, Somerset, was jailed for four years in April after he admitted 26 counts of fraud, one of stealing the mail and acquiring criminal property.
His partner Cathryn Russell admitted four counts of fraud and was given a community sentence and ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.
They both returned to Exeter Crown Court for a hearing to recover assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The case was adjourned for 12 weeks so police can sell off all the assets seized at their five-bedroomed farmhouse home, which was set in 11 acres and they were renting for £2,000 a month.
Recorder Mr Brian Letts, QC, said he would have to treat the case as one in which the couple lived a criminal lifestyle.
Miss Emily Pitts, prosecuting, said there was no cash but there were a variety of saleable goods which were seized when he was arrested and were expected to raise around £10,000.
She applied for confiscation orders for £5,000 each against both Castle and Russell but the Recorder said it would be better to finalise the case once the assets were sold.
The assets are household goods, electricals including televisions, saddles and tack. Many of the items seized turned out to be loaned and were returned to their owners.
He said: “Things go pretty quickly on eBay these days, and there are plenty of auction houses around.”
In the past Castle was dubbed the Casanova Conman after he targeted rich lonely women for his swindles.
He was a bankrupt mechanic but posed as a wealthy financier, wore Versace and Armani suits, and lived for a month at Claridges Hotel in Mayfair, where he ran up a £15,000 bill.
He spent £40,000 maintaining his image by hiring luxury Jaguars and Porsches, while wearing top of the range designer clothes, including Versace and Armani, and dining at top restaurants like The Ivy.
In a completely different scam, he forged till receipts of shoplifted goods from Homebase stores across the North West and Midlands which netted him up to £1,000 a day.