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article imageConman who targeted women through dating sites sentenced

By Lynn Curwin     Sep 14, 2010 in Crime
A conman who spent years cheating women was sentenced to six years and 10 months in custody after he entered guilty pleas to 13 charges of fraud.
David Checkley, 52, of north London, met women through internet dating and chance meetings. He would pose as a businessman, architect or an American fighter pilot and trick women into giving him money for non-existent business projects.
Checkley was arrested after a woman wrote to Avon and Somerset police in 2009, telling them that a man she met through an internet dating agency had defrauded her out of money.
Investigations showed the man, who was originally from Grenada, had done the same thing to other women, in both the UK and the US, and that he had links to professional crime.
Although he had been acquitted of murder, he had been jailed for five years for false imprisonment and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm for his part in the death of Channel 4 presenter Mark Levy in 2000.
Checkley admitted fraud totalling £163,191.21, but a police press release said “investigators have suggested the figure was much higher.”
He told women stories about needing funds for oil deals, building projects, and for an operation to cure his Parkinson’s disease in order to get their money. He told tales of being a friend of Barack Obama and Tiger Woods’ father, and of meeting Michael J. Fox.
When his passport was checked it was found that, other than a few trips back to Grenada, he was always in the UK.
Checkley became threatening when some of the women tried to get their money back.
"As a result of meeting David Checkley I have had to sell my business and I have to start entirely again from scratch...” BBC News quoted Susan Baio as saying. "This man has done wrong and he needs to be accountable for it."
Rosemary Burns, defending, told the court that Checkley was full of remorse and was a victim of failed business ventures.
“There is no doubt at all that you are a ruthless professional con man,” the judge was quoted as saying in the police press release. “Many of the women were in a troubled and emotional time of their lives."
Checkley will have to serve at least half of his sentence before being considered for parole. The judge requested that papers from the case be sent to the Home Secretary for possible consideration of a deportation order.
The judge praised fraud investigator Dave Trotter, and recommended him for a police commendation.
Trotter said the investigation was about the “brave 20-25 women who stood up to enable us to prevent Checkley from continuing his serious organised fraud.”
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