12:57PM, Monday 28 September 2020
A dating app fraudster from Slough has been jailed after conning hundreds of thousands of pounds from romantic partners and relatives.
Vimal Popat, of Salt Hill Drive, was sentenced to four years and four months in prison at Harrow Crown Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to nine offences of fraud by false representation.
The 41-year-old defrauded his victims of £440,824.50 by tricking them into investing in a non-existent business.
His victims included family members, a former colleague, a former neighbour and several women he met and formed romantic relationships with via dating sites like Bumble.
After befriending these victims online, he would typically form romantic relationships with them, gaining their trust over several months before persuading them to invest in his fake business.
He fooled his victims into believing he was a successful Forex trader, promising big profits for his ‘investors’ through the purchase and sales of currencies.
He also created fake banking documents to show his victims that their accounts had healthy balances, but in reality Popat put the money into one of his own accounts, using it to pay for his lifestyle and gambling it away in casinos.
When chasing their money, Popat would string along his romantic victims for months using a number of excuses for being unavailable to see them, such as being in a car accident, being hospitalised, being robbed and attending a funeral.
The crimes were committed over many years, starting in 2013 but escalating in 2019, when he tricked four victims in a single year. He was arrested on Thursday, March 5, 2020.
Of Popat’s victims, six were female, four of whom were involved in a romantic relationship with him.
Popat also took £300,000 from a family member by tricking them into thinking he was a successful currency trader at a family wedding. Police believe there may be more victims who have yet to come forward.
Detective Constable Chris Collins, of the Metropolitan Police, said: “This was a selfish and callous crime that parted trusting decent people from their savings.
“So often victims of this type of offence don’t come forward, embarrassed by their own naivety, but fraudsters such as Popat work hard on their back story and are incredibly convincing in the telling of their tales.
“I commend the victims in this case for coming forward. Their actions have put a stop to Popat’s crimes and have no doubt spared others from falling victim to his schemes.
“I hope that the sentence handed down brings them some satisfaction.”
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