Con-man burglar who posed as an oligarch jailed

Justitia Justice Statue Denkmal Skulptur sculpture Römerberg Frankfurt Gerechtigkeit.

William Flynn, a 36 year-old former burglar from Barnet in north London, has been jailed for eight years, after an outrageous scheme to pose as an oligarch in order to carry out a series of thefts. He eventually took jewellery and watches worth £800,000.

So how did he do it?

The con

The Mirror reported that Flynn posed as a Kazakh millionaire, and stole a BMW X5 worth £70,000 in order to drive around London booking viewings of properties worth £1 million or more.

Once inside the house he would use the opportunity to steal the jewellery belonging to the occupants. His most high profile victim was Petra Ecclestone, the Formula 1 heiress. He stole her £50,000 Rolex watch, and a pair of £400,000 earrings.

On that particular day he was chauffeur-driven to the property in a Bentley. He asked to make a private phone call, and used the opportunity to steal the items.

The Daily Mail reported that he managed to pull off his disguise, despite the fact he refused to take his sunglasses off and spoke in an accident spookily similar to the character Borat. He called himself Oleg Duchenko.

Flynn stole from 35 properties, and took a total of over £800,000 of jewellery. He told the court he was deeply in debt.

Con artists

However, he isn't the first man to assume a bizarre identity in order to carry out his crimes. Anthony de Clerck was jailed in 2008 for a range of con tricks where he claimed to be a spy, descended from Belgian nobility, an army officer on leave, and a high-flying lawyer. He used his identities to win the confidence of his victims and persuade them to part with their money - before disappearing. He refused to tell police officers whether de Clerck was his real name.

Then there was Frank Abagnale, who cashed $2.5 million worth of cheques in 26 countries during five years in the 1960s under a range of identities. He posed as a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer, and his story was made into the film 'Catch Me If You Can'.

And there was Victor Lustig, who in 1925 invited scrap metal dealers to bid for the metal in the Eiffel Tower - telling them that the city couldn't afford to keep it any more. One dealer bought the tower and Lustig scarpered.

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