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York businessmen defrauded out of £600,000 by Adam Adamou
A FRAUDSTER who conned York businessmen out of £600,000 after promising to invest the cash in luxury cars and first edition books has been jailed for three years and eight months.
Adam Adamou, 39, tricked brothers James and Martin O’Toole and their associate David Breeze into handing over hundreds of thousands of pounds over 18 months.
He persuaded them to invest in “list places” for the opportunity to buy Rolls-Royce Phantoms, Aston Martin DBSs, Ferraris and a Lamborghini concept car that was never put up for public sale.
Adamou also conned them into handing over nearly £250,000 to restore three E-Type Jaguars, but pocketed the money.
A fourth businessman, Adam Bernholt, also lost £75,000 to Adamou in an alleged business investment and £46,200 in a car deal.
Adamou defrauded the four men out of £599,050, Southwark Crown Court heard. In total, including other dealings, he netted £918,015 – but because he has been declared bankrupt, he must pay back just £1.
Judge Deborah Taylor said: “These were high-value, premeditated offences of fraud and dishonesty including a large number of victims.”
The O’Tooles and Mr Breeze were directors of a tax advisory company called Aston Court Chambers International (ACC) and operated offshore companies to manage their investments. The firm was based in King’s Staith in York but has since relocated to London.
Prosecutor Abigail White said Adamou was introduced to the men in 2007 as head of sourcing for Unlimited International (UI). She said he began a friendship with James O’Toole and David Breeze.
She said they socialised and spent weekends together and said: “At one stage Mr Adamou even spent Christmas with Mr O’Toole and his family.”
She said Adamou initially sourced high-value items for the victims but later convinced them to transfer large sums into his bank account in exchange for goods and investments that never materialised.
Adamou’s deception began in February 2008 when he convinced James O’Toole to invest £95,000 in an E-Type Jaguar to be restored by a company owned by his brothers Simon and Antoni Georgiou.
Ms White said Adamou soon persuaded the businessman to part with a further £203,200 to restore three more E-Types, before handing over a further £35,000, but the vehicles were never delivered nor the money returned.
In April 2008 Adamou took £12,100 from Mr O’Toole for a complete set of first-edition James Bond books that never materialised.
He later duped the businessmen into handing over cash for list places for luxury cars, including £80,000 for four list places for Ferrari Californias, and £92,000 for two Rolls-Royce Phantoms.
They were told the list places could be sold for a profit when their place neared the top of the list. Ms White said Adamou also stole high-value motors from Clive Sutton Premier Marques dealership in St John’s Wood, north London. Adamou sold an Audi R8 Spyder the garage had been asked to sell and transferred the cash into his own account.
The barrister said he pulled off other such scams and in one case told a terminal cancer victim that he too had been diagnosed with cancer, but was in remission.
Adamou, of Kenning Road, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to four counts of theft, 15 counts of fraud, and one count of making or supplying articles for use in fraud.
He asked for a further account of money laundering from which he netted £192,815 to be taken into account.