TOWIE star Lewis Bloor used ‘Thomas Harkin’ as a fake name to con people in £3m diamond scam, court hears


The Only Way Is Essex star Lewis Bloor used a fake name to con people in a £3m diamond scam, a court has been told.

The 31-year-old, who was in the ITV2 reality show for three years, allegedly used the name “Thomas Harkin” to dupe investors into purchasing the coloured stones at a 600% mark-up.

Fraudsters working for two firms, Imperial Assets Solutions (IAS) and Henderson & Forbes, allegedly fleeced around 200 people, many of whom were elderly, out of more than £3m.

Bloor is charged, along with six others, with conspiracy to defraud

Both of the firms involved purported to be specialist brokers for people wanting to buy or sell investment-grade stones, Southwark Crown Court heard.

People were cold-called and sent glossy brochures with quotations from De Beers jewellers, and office addresses in a prestigious Canary Wharf skyscraper and Antwerp, the worldwide home of the diamond trade, the court was told.

They were sold the coloured diamonds as a genuine investment which would increase in value, it was heard.

But the stones, which were bought from a wholesaler and sold on with a mark-up of around 600%, could never have been a legitimate investment, it is alleged.

Bloor was said to be one of those with a “more central role in the fraud”, sending scripts to those making the calls, the court heard.

Two such documents found in his home offered investors the “exciting opportunity” to buy rare coloured diamonds bought from the Argyle mine in Australia, which were about to “shoot up in value”, the court was told.

Lewis Bloor attending the Entourage UK Film Premiere held at Vue West End, 3 Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 9, 2015. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire
Lewis Bloor, pictured here in 2015

Bloor was paid £150,000 by IAS, with some money paid on to others, before leaving to pursue his TV career, it was heard in court.

The court was told another employee, 25-year-old Max Potter, told a friend in messages: “They have all got great big Rolexes and Porsche jeeps,” and said his cousin, who ran the company, “is 28, and he’s a millionaire”.

One alleged victim, Michael Williams, told the court that Bloor had a “very persistent style” which “subtly put pressure” on him.

Prosecutor David Durose QC said: “Mr Williams said he was made to feel that he was buying a valuable item at a fair market price which would quickly go up in value with little risk.”

He said Mr Williams bought a stone for £5,978.70, while Bloor was paid £896.81, or exactly 15% of the investment sum.

“These diamonds were marked up by five or six times, so that’s probably about the sort of figure that IAS would have actually paid for the diamond,” Mr Durose said.

“Fifteen per cent of the investment disappeared straight away, was not going anywhere near the price of the payment, and Mr Bloor knew that, of course, because he received that money.”

Lewis Bloor is seen entering the Celebrity Big Brother house at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Herfordshire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 28, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ CBB. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire
Lewis Bloor, pictured here in 2016

Bloor, of Buckhurst Hill, Essex, denies conspiracy to defraud between 7 May 2013 and 1 July 2014.

The ex-TOWIE star is on trial alongside Joseph Jordan, 29, from Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire; George Walters, 29, from Beckenham, in Kent; Max Potter, 25, of Enfield, Middlesex; Nathan Wilson, 28, of Brentwood, Essex; and Simon Akbari, 27, from Loughton, Essex, who also deny the charge.

The trial continues.

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