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Fake contessa

Fake contessa of Dulwich is jailed

A woman who claimed to be a contessa and the heir to a fortune amounting to “300 followed by 41 zeros”[1] was jailed for five years today. Elda Beguina collected £2.3 million from unsuspecting “supporters” after telling them tales of wealth from sunken Spanish galleons and treasure hidden in the Philippines.

The 63 year-old mother of two would offer the victims jobs in her “global humanitarian organisation”. But before the deal was signed, she asked them for a loan of a few thousand pounds, saying her fortune had been held up overseas.

Calling herself Baroness Beguina and the Contessa de Avila, she would talk of a home in The Bishop’s Avenue, Hampstead, and buying Harrods for £15 billion, and surrounded herself with servants. But Beguina had paid for her title and lived in a semi-detached Dulwich home.

She would also mention her links to the Hapsburg and Bourbon dynasties and pretended she was set to buy the Russian embassy in Kensington.

Today at Southwark crown court she was convicted of seven counts of deception and a further charge of attempted deception between February and July 2004.

In 1997 she was jailed for two years for an extraordinary attempt to defraud financial institutions of £16 trillion. [Evening Standard, 3 July]

[1] 30 septillion, it says here.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
jimyojimbo
Jul. 8th, 2008 09:47 am (UTC)
Anyone wishing to make those claims credible would have stated her wealth as £3.00 x 1043.

The implication here is that she managed to con about a hundred people out of cash in this way. Hasn't she just enabled the tracking down of stupid people?
webofevil
Jul. 8th, 2008 09:50 am (UTC)
She has indeed acted as a kind of societal barium meal.
uniquefergus
Jul. 8th, 2008 09:58 am (UTC)
That's terrible. Anyone who REALLY wants to make a return on their hard-earned cash should lend it to ME, the 2nd Duke of Earl. All my vast wealth is tied up in Nigeria, or Belarus or somewhere like that, but just as soon as I can get around their footling financial legislation I will repay you all a thousandfold, then I'll buy Nicholas Van Hoogstraten's house and use it to store my golf buggies.
lebeautemps
Jul. 8th, 2008 10:01 am (UTC)
16 trillion? What was the scam?
kasku
Jul. 8th, 2008 10:05 am (UTC)
I know! I want to try it! ; )
htfb
Jul. 8th, 2008 10:33 am (UTC)
She owned a semi-detached home in Dulwich? That's two or three sunken Spanish galleons right there. Or was last July---it may be a little less now. Two galleons and a barquentine, say.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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