Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 26 August 2019

Con artist accused of stealing millions by posing as royal adviser

Court hears Emirati accused took more than Dh4 million from victims between 2007 and 2017

A suspected con artist was accused of pretending to be a close friend of the UAE royal family in an effort to steal millions of dirhams from his victims.

Dubai’s Court of Misdemeanours heard how the Emirati man, 34, stole more than Dh4 million from unsuspecting targets between 2007 and 2017.

The accused's victims included the sons of an Emirati family as well as a Syrian travel agent.

Court records showed he claimed to be an adviser to a sheikh to convince those he befriended to trust him.

“He drove lavish cars and showed us pictures of him with a royal family member which made us all trust him,” said one victim. “He took Dh750,000 from me, promising a house from the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid housing establishment, Dh150,000 to buy me land in Ras Al Khaimah and Dh300,000 to become partner in a project in Jumeirah.”

The court heard how the accused befriended one Emirati family over a number of years.

He frequently visited their home, first becoming friends with one son and then a second.

Later, he used their sisters’ and mother’s credit card to withdraw large amounts of cash.

Detectives also discovered the man successfully targeted the Syrian owner of a travel agency, stealing close to Dh2m.

He first gained the man’s trust by claiming to work for various sheikhs before asking for investment capital which was never returned.

“I met him in 2008 and he said he was a VIP and worked with sheikhs,” said his victim.

“We worked together and then he asked me for Dh60,000 to invest in a trade. He also asked me [to pay] for hotel and flight bookings for VIPs who he claimed ran a business network on behalf of a sheikh’s office.”

Appearing in court, the man denied obtaining money and cheques by deception. The hearing was adjourned until January 10.

Updated: December 23, 2018 03:56 PM