Search

Former Hampstead politician enjoys night at the opera at conman’s expense

10:29 06 December 2012

Hampstead writer and former MEP William Hopper was swindled in a  phone scam but he ended up £300 in profit

Hampstead writer and former MEP William Hopper was swindled in a phone scam but he ended up £300 in profit

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

A former politician and acclaimed author from Hampstead finished £300 better off after his brush with a gang of conmen who looted his exclusive bank account.

William Hopper, an ex-Member of the European Parliament (MEP), among the latest to fall foul of a complex fraud which has blighted the borough and cost banks millions of pounds.

But unlike his fellow victims, the 83-year-old enjoyed two trips to the theatre and one sortie to the opera at the conmen’s expense.

The swindlers plundered £1,000 from the former MEP’s account at Coutts private bank – but not before handing over £300 in cash to Mr Hopper to cover his immediate spending.

The former investment banker, who has lived in Flask Walk for 20 years, said: “I ended up £300 better off and humorously hoping the same thing would happen to me every day.

“I decided it was not taxable since I was the beneficiary of a fraud and it would not come under income tax.

“Although I was embarrassed at falling for it, I ended up £300 up which cheered me up no end.”

The author, who is currently penning a sequel to his highly-respected work The Puritan Gift, also recovered the £1,000 from his bank.

More than 100 elderly and vulnerable people across Camden have been hit by the scam losing hundreds of thousands of pounds, with a 92-year-old and a cerebral palsy sufferer among the victims.

The conmen contact their targets masquerading as police or bank fraud investigators, alerting them to an alleged fraud on their account.

They ask the victims to call their bank using the number on their card.But when the victims put the phone down the conmen do not hang up, leaving the line open – and then pose as bank staff, persuading the victims to reveal their PIN and other information.

The gang then send a courier to the victim’s address to collect their bank cards and empty their accounts.

Mr Hopper, who helped found the Institute of Fiscal Studies, was defrauded in September when he was persuaded to hand over his bank cards. When he called the fraudsters the following day to request some spending money, the scammers sent him a stack of 15 used £20 bank notes to spin out the confidence trick.

Mr Hopper said: “These people are intelligently evil and they use that intelligence in this acting and deceit.”

A special police unit in Camden has made dozens of arrests in relation to the fraud, but officers warn it will be a “complex crusade”.

Police recently seized a Ferrari in Camden after officers swooped on three men suspected of masterminding a similar scam worth £56,000.

Det Con Alex Stavrou said: “We have made arrests and we’re trying to link as many cases as we can to the gangs who have been lifted.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

43 minutes ago
Cllr Theo Blackwell, Camden's Chief of Finance, says Camden will lose out to local authorities in the wealthy home counties on a £300 government 'Superfund@ designed to soften the impact of the cuts

Camden Labour say they are set to lose out on a £300 million government “superfund” designed to soften the impact of the cuts, whilst local authorities in the leafy home counties will benefit the most.

Police are investigating attempted child abductions

Haringey detectives have charged a man with 14 offences after a series of attempted child abductions in Hornsey

Dr Aggarwal giving Chloe tips on delivering babies

In the midst of the contract dispute Ham&High reporter, Chloe Chaplain, spent two days shadowing junior doctors at the Whittington Hospital.

Jeffery Mann died in September last year

Friends of a man who took his own life after being told the mental health support he received would be withdrawn told Camden Council this week they feel ignored and fearful for their future.

14:03
An air ambulance landed in Fortune Green after reports a man was hit by a vehicle in Finchley Road. Picture: Harvey Lee Sutton

A man has been taken to hospital with a head injury after being hit by a vehicle in Finchley Road this afternoon.

13:27
Edmond Fenton cleared of fraud

A former television executive was today found not guilty of “pillaging” more than £400,000 from the bank accounts of his 100-year-old cousin and selling her house without her consent.

Crouch End Hill Food & Wine following stabbing

A mother has thanked her Crouch End customers for their “unbelievable” support after her son was stabbed during an attempted robbery at their family-owned store.

Yesterday, 17:25
Striking junior doctors outside the Royal Free Hospital during a national day of action 10.02.16.

Junior doctors protested on the picket lines of the Whittington and Royal Free hospitals today after staging a second walk-out.

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Surface Pro 4

Technology is ever evolving. We are constantly being shown new technology that is innovative, revolutionary and designed to make life easier for us all. Gone are the days of dial up modems and computers so large you needed half a room to store it. We are in the age of smooth, small and sleek. Companies are all trying their best to create technology that is easy to transport and guaranteed to be user friendly.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe