Ship sail

Married scammer poses as fake cruise ship captain to steal £320,000 | United Kingdom | New

Jody Oliver, 44, led two separate ‘fantastic lives’ – telling his wife he was a successful businessman and his fiancé he was a captain of a luxury cruise ship. A court heard Oliver, who has three children, created the persona of a cruise ship captain, including dressing the part and falsifying company documents.

The scammer told his wife he was involved in a number of successful businesses, including those in the travel industry, which meant he had to work most weeks.

But he was actually spending time with his fiancé Rhys about 40 miles away – and he used an alias to keep his martial status and children a secret from the man.

Oliver, however, was sentenced to six years in prison yesterday after pleading guilty to fraud.

The former special constable has a previous conviction for forgery in connection with a £3million sponsorship scam against rally driver Colin McRae as well as a previous conviction for a VAT scam, Wales online reports.

Sentencing Oliver at Newport Crown Court, Judge Richard Williams said: “Your motive was your profound dishonesty and your willingness to let down those of your acquaintance.”

Some of Oliver’s victims were relatives of his fiancé, the judge was told.

Oliver told his wife, with whom he lived in Brecon, mid Wales, that he had interests in a number of businesses, including a fleet car operation, a slot machine business and a funeral home.

However, he spent a lot of time with Rhys in Newport, lying about his name and age. Rhys, whom Oliver met on a dating site, proposed to the accused and the couple planned a wedding in Aruba in the Caribbean.

Andrew Davies, prosecuting, said: “The defendant was at the center of a complex web of lies and deception. He did not care who he hurt or sought to defraud and even lied to those he claimed to love. The defendant used different names and job descriptions to get money and live a life he couldn’t afford.He lived two separate imaginary lives – neither of which he could sustain with legitimate income.

Accused went to great lengths to carry out ‘masquerade’, dressing as cruise ship captain with fake company lanyard, producing fake company letters, documents and payslips , creating fictitious email accounts supposedly of other Carnival employees, and providing details of excursions, ships and flights to his victims. In total, Oliver ripped people off £320,000 for the non-existent holiday.

While this was happening Oliver managed two bank accounts, one in each name, took out high interest loans and gambled huge sums of money – in just one year he lost £136,000 gambling. He and Rhys were also planning to buy a £685,000 house in Old St Mellons, Cardiff.

The court heard that when the cruises people had booked did not materialize, the defendant created a series of excuses, including technical problems with the ships and problems abroad, but that some of these victims went so far as to pack their bags and wait for transfers to the ships which were never to arrive.

In January 2019, some of the people who had paid for cruises raised concerns with the police and the following month he was arrested at his parents’ home in Presteigne, mid Wales.

He responded “without comment” to all questions asked but gave a prepared statement to officers in which he said he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor which was affecting his memory. In a later interview, he said he did not have a brain tumor but had sinus issues.

In other interviews, he denied ever claiming to be a cruise ship captain, saying people must have been mistaken. He claimed he was just called ‘captain’ as a nickname because he ‘loved the sea’, although his wife later confirmed to police that he had in fact fallen ill when he went on the water .

The court heard a series of impact statements from his victims in which they detailed the financial and emotional impact of his fraud. One called him “evil”, another called him “parasite”, and a third “lowlife”. One noted that it was sad that someone could look you in the eye and lie to you while taking money you worked and saved hard for. In her statement to the court, the defendant’s wife detailed the effect on her and her children of Oliver’s double life.

Matthew Buckland, for Oliver, said at the time of the offense the defendant’s life was ‘out of control’ as he confronted his feelings and felt unable to communicate with those around him on the path he wanted his life to take. He said it had to be obvious to his client how the situation was going to end and he has now acknowledged how much damage he has done to people’s finances and their trust in people.