Playboy fraudster from East Finchley is battling extradition to United States
- Credit: central news
A fraudster wanted in the USA over a multi-million pound hedge fund scam faces an extradition hearing next month.
Marc Duchesne, 52, pocketed £12million from at least 50 unwitting victims after promising them high returns on their money.
Duchesne, formerly of Elmshurst Crescent, East Finchley, spent the money on a fleet of cars, including a Ferrari Enzo, a Rolls Royce Phantom, a Bentley Arnage and several Hummers.
He also bought a speedboat for a friend, spent £60,000 on cosmetic dentistry and his cigar bill alone was more than £22,000.
The conman, who spent thousands of pounds a week in Harrods and flew around the world in private jets, also hired a luxury coach and driver for £9,300 before fleeing to Switzerland.
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He was later returned to the UK and jailed for four-and-a-half years in 2009 but absconded from an open prison after serving just six months.
Duchesne, described as a “Walter Mitty character”, was ordered to pay back £1.9million by a judge in his absence or face another five years in jail.
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He was captured and re-arrested last year and has been battling extradition to the US ever since.
Duchesne appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court via a video-link from prison on Friday as part of the extradition proceedings.
Judge John Zani remanded him in custody ahead of a full extradition hearing on September 5.
Duchesne had admitted a series of fraud charges including conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to obtain money by deception before being jailed in 2009.
The fraudster and accomplices had set up bogus hedge fund Benchmark Asset Management (BAM) to trick wealthy UK and European investors to part with their cash while promising massive returns.
They would sign cheques worth up to a million Euros believing they would be in line for monthly returns of up to 11 per cent.
Duchesne, who changed his name from Spinks, further convinced investors the scam was a sure thing by inventing a special bank account which guaranteed their original investment would be safe.
Between October 2004 and July 2006, Duchesne poured investors’ cash into BAM accounts and used it to fund his luxury lifestyle.
When investigators gained access to the accounts as part of the confiscation proceedings, they were almost completely empty.