Conman who preyed on Worthing romance fraud victim sentenced
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A man who preyed on a victim of romance fraud has been sentenced.
Ricky (also known as Ravinder) Gill, 40, of Saville Road, Chadwell Heath, London, was sentenced to a total of eight months imprisonment suspended for 18 months for fraud by false representation, when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Thursday, 27 July.
After a woman from Worthing was defrauded of £39,500 by a man she had met on a dating site, she hired a private investigator in an attempt to recover the funds.
The romance fraudster had convinced her to invest in cryptocurrency, gaining her trust by claiming he had six years’ experience in investment banking and ensuring an initial £1,000 profit.
After realising that she had been scammed when she tried to withdraw her money, the victim contacted both Sussex Police and the company ‘Secret Service Investigations’, who described themselves as ‘a group of ex-police, military and intelligence personnel who between them have 120 years’ experience dealing with all types of cases.’
In May 2022, Gill was hired to investigate the fraud and recover the money. He identified a suspect in America and travelled there to make further enquiries with the US police and the suspected fraudster. The victim covered the cost of flights and accommodation, and security staff working for Gill which amounted to £4,420.
When Gill began to ask the victim for more funds to complete his task, her bank account froze due to the large sums of money she was attempting to transfer. The Sussex and Surrey Cyber Crime Unit investigated further and uncovered a web of lies surrounding Gill’s work history, qualifications, and the case he was supposedly pursuing in America.
The money had in fact paid for him to take a friend on holiday whilst he provided the victim with false updates. Although he did visit a police station in the US, a crime report was not filed, and whilst he did approach a security company to work with him, they declined. Gill still invoiced the victim for their services, as well as forging his travel receipts to claim more money than needed from her.
Gill had made several false representations to the victim to encourage her to hire his services: he said he had multiple offices across the world whilst working from just one in his garden; he stated he was a police officer for over 17 years but was instead a police analyst for six years; and claimed to have highly skilled and trained staff with ‘120 years’ experience’ when he had no contracted staff at all.
He was arrested and charged with fraud by false representation and pleaded not guilty at court in February this year. Gill changed his plea to guilty in June and as well as being given a suspended prison sentence, was ordered to pay £4,430 in compensation, £500 costs and given a restraining order against the victim until further notice.
Daniel Sykes of the Sussex and Surrey Cyber Crime Unit said: “Gill preyed on a vulnerable person who was seeking help. He took advantage of her trust and repeatedly falsified information for his own gain.
“Fraud is a cruel crime that leaves a devastating impact, both financially and emotionally. We take reports of fraud very seriously and by securing this conviction, have removed another conman from our streets.”
If you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please report to police online or by calling 101.
For information on fraud and how to prevent it, see the Sussex Police website.
You can also visit National Cyber Security Centre’s free resources to become Cyber Aware.