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Serial fraudster Mark Acklom refuses to leave cell for start of Spanish extradition bid

Written by on 12/08/2021

Jailed fraudster Mark Acklom has refused to leave his UK prison cell to be arrested and taken to court for the start of a Spanish extradition bid.

Acklom, Britain’s most notorious conman, is wanted in Spain to complete an unfinished sentence he fled from five years ago.

He was already on the run from the UK when he was jailed in Cartagena, southeast Spain, for defrauding two brothers who he conned into paying him deposits on flats he claimed to own in London.

Halfway through his Spanish sentence he appealed and was given temporary release, but fled to Switzerland, taking advantage of open borders and changing his name by deed poll to get new passports. He still has 18 months to serve.

Police had planned to arrest him at Erlestoke prison in Wiltshire where he is soon to be freed early from another fraud sentence.

The 48-year-old would have been driven to a London court where Spanish authorities wanted to start the extradition process but the hearing was postponed in his absence.

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It may have to wait for his arrest when he walks out of Erlestoke, but even if he fights extradition he will have to live in the UK under tough restrictions ordered by a judge.

The serial fraudster will have to declare his earnings, business dealings and assets, close any foreign bank accounts, stop using false names and tell police of his movements.

The curbs on his freedom come in a rare serious crime prevention order that will last for five years. If he flouts any restriction he risks another five years in jail.

When he is freed, as expected, in a fortnight Acklom will have served barely a third of a five years and eight months sentence imposed in 2019 for a romance scam.

He used an alias and posed as an MI6 agent and millionaire banker as he wooed Gloucestershire divorcee Carolyn Woods before isolating her from her family and friends, stealing £300,000, and leaving her heartbroken, destitute and suicidal.

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A story of love and deception by a conman

At the time he was married with two young children and living with his family a few miles away, telling Ms Woods he was flying to see her from his home in Switzerland.

Ms Woods, who has given up hope of getting back any of the money Acklom stole, said: “He always does what is best for him. I don’t think having a serious crime prevention order in his name is really going to affect what he does, unless he is physically tagged or something like that.”

Acklom vanished with Ms Woods’s money in 2013 and fled abroad, first to Spain, then Italy, then Spain again, where he was jailed, then Switzerland where Sky News tracked him down.

His arrest and extradition to the UK in 2019 followed 30 years of fraud which began as a 16-year-old public schoolboy when he was imprisoned for stealing his father’s gold credit card.

Mark Acklom
Image: Acklom (pictured) will be subject to a rare serious crime prevention order that will last for five years

He took his pals on trips to Europe in hired private jets, before persuading a building society to give him a £500,000 mortgage which he used to buy a London mansion.

Over the years Acklom has been jailed five times for deception in Spain, once in the UK for forging medical prescriptions and more recently in Switzerland for fraud.

Former Detective Chief Superintendent Kevin Hurley, who has followed the Acklom case, said: “When you consider the criminality that goes on in Spain, the serious violence, people trafficking, they’re probably not going to be overly keen to keep him in prison for too long, so I’m sure he will find a way of talking his way out for early release there.”

While Acklom was on the run from Spain – and wanted by British police – Sky News discovered him and his family living in a luxury lakeside apartment outside Zurich, where he duped a German former banker into giving him €400,000 for a company he claimed was making black box data recorders for driverless cars.

The banker Harald Herbon said he was persuaded to invest the large sum in a phone call with Acklom who told him he was the European agent for billionaire US car designer Elon Musk. He admitted he hadn’t actually met Acklom.

 Sky News

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