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Mon 6 Jul 2009 11:39 AM

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Conman jailed after forging letter from Dubai ruler

UK boatbuilder sent to prison after using Sheikh Mohammed's name to con investors.

Conman jailed after forging letter from Dubai ruler
SCAM PROJECT: Don Ladell falsely used Sheikh Mohammeds name in a bid to get money from investors. (The Echo)

A boatbuilder from the UK who forged a letter from the ruler of Dubai to con investors out of money has been jailed for two years, it was reported on Monday.

Don Ladell, 25, convinced investors they would get a return on multimillion-pound plans for a marina on the site of the former loading pier in Southend, in Essex, local newspaper The Echo reported.

He forged a letter from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed Al Maktoum in which the sheikh appeared to be offering to invest 75m pounds ($121m) in the project, Basildon Crown Court was told.

The conman won the trust of local investor Laurence Hilsum, who gave him a total of about £323,000 towards the sham project while Michael Johnson, Hilsum’s brother-in-law, chipped in a further £56,000.

Ladell, of Grand Drive, Leigh, admitted five counts of fraud, involving sums totalling £190,000.

Judge Rupert Overbury said: “Your fraud was only successful because you developed a skill as a conman.”

He added: “It is unfortunate, because I have no doubt at all you had ambitions that all your ventures would be a success. Some were complete pipedreams, but others weren’t.”

Patrick 10 years ago

I was unaware that you can get away with 2 years in jail and then be free and enjoy your fraud money!

langyaw 10 years ago

Patrick, it's only money, that's why. I suppose Islamic jurisprudence will be tougher when it's a crime against a person, causing him physical harm, or death. money, you can recover. but injury causing deformities or loss of functions, or death, no one can restore. too bad that this could be a bad example and not a deterrent for future conmen. -- langyaw

James 10 years ago

just as a clarification, this took place in the UK and not the UAE, if it happened here am sure it would have been a different case.

Del 10 years ago

I believe the court will confiscate the money.

Dace 10 years ago

So glad international media has picked this up. Myself and 11 of my friends worked at this boatyard for this conman. He owes us over £50,000 in unpaid wages. We built two thirds of a 55ft luxury powerboat for him with our bare hands. I cannot begin to tell you the financial damage this man did. If you want to see the boat we made look at the following youtube clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrjDWW9mGzw