Sunday Express

The playboy, his famous chum and a ‘£1.5m fraud’

- By Jon Austin CRIME EDITOR

A BRITISH conman name-dropped film stars and claimed to be a billionair­e in a plot to dupe a wealthy “love interest”, US prosecutor­s claim.

Oscar Peters, 61, faces extraditio­n on a charge of fleecing the woman out of $1.9million (£1.5million)

He had claimed to be pals with Hollywood stars and once set up an entertainm­ent business with British actor and director Ray Burdis.

A US arrest warrant states that, between December 2015 and July 2017, Peters, 61, “dishonestl­y made representa­tions to the victim he was a wealthy billionair­e financier”. He convinced her to “wire him money in connection with claimed business activities” and “allow him to access her bank accounts and credit cards to pay his expenses totalling $1.9million”.

Peters, who is in a UK prison, has been arrested over the US charge and appeared at Westminste­r magistrate­s court, where the case was adjourned. He was convicted of a similar offence against a British businesswo­man and sentenced to three years and six months in jail in July 2018.

Harrow Crown Court heard that in August 2014 he convinced his victim to invest more than £90,000 in a venture. But Peters spent the cash and vanished.

In the eight months before the con, Peters set up two limited companies in the UK named after himself and a third called OPI Entertainm­ent with Mr Burdis, who has starred in BBC sit com three Up, two Down.

None of the companies ever filed accounts and were struck off in 2015. Mr Burdis confirmed he was director of OPI Entertainm­ent, but said the company never traded. There is no suggestion he was involved in any wrongdoing.

He said: “At the time I thought the venture was absolutely genuine, but with what has come to light it makes one wonder.”

The Sunday Express traced a European businessma­n who said he was chasing Peters for money. He believes more than 25 people could have lost money to Peters. The man said: “He said he was friends with several famous US and UK actors and often namedroppe­d famously known people.

“He put me in touch with his banker in Switzerlan­d who confirmed everything, but now I don’t know if he was involved or not.”

The man said he was in touch with a group of people who had either lent Peters money, invested in proposed business ventures or had put him up in accommodat­ion and funded his lifestyle before he disappeare­d.

He said he had believed Peters’ story that he was a billionair­e financier struggling to access his Swiss bank accounts because the US had put freezing orders on the banks.

He said: “At the time everything he said checked out and seemed plausible.”

● If you are owed money by Peters, contact the Sunday Express Crime Editor on jon.austin@reachplc.com

 ??  ?? FRAUD: Oscar Peters
FRAUD: Oscar Peters

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