Sunday, June 09, 2024

Fake clergyman cons thousands of euros out of parish priests on Spain’s Costa Blanca with sob story of dying father and inheritance

A BOGUS priest has been arrested by the Guardia Civil after conning over €15,000 out of two clergymen in Alicante province.

He was detained in Aielo de Malferit at one of his last known addresses.

Investigators discovered that he had a dozen pending legal claims from courts across Spain.

In the Asturias region alone, he has been accused of nine scams against priests in 2020. 

Given his extensive record, an Ontinyent court refused him bail and he will also be brought before the bench in Orihuela for his latest crimes in Bigastro and Catral. 

The fraudster turned up at the home of the Catral parish priest in January. 

He said his father was dying in Salamanca and needed money to go to assist him, but had been out of touch ever since he had been ordained as a deacon. 

He gave the priest a phone number of an alleged priest in Salamanca that was helping out and contact was made as the victim was reeled in. 

Initially €300 was given to the deacon, but then his father supposedly died leaving him €70,000 and two apartments, but he did not have enough money to pay for the inheritance tax to access the estate. 

The Catral priest ended up making five bank transfers totalling €14,500 and after he tried to phone the faker, the line became ‘out of order’. 

The victim said the bogus cleric was so convincing that he was worried for his safety after he could not contact him. 

A similar scam was played on the Bigastro parish priest, who parted with €500- which he thought was a loan. 

Guardia officers had to work their way through a trail of false identities used by the conman who had mobile phone numbers registered to non-Spaniards whose names did not appear in police databases. 

He also stayed in hotels using a variety of names. 

The fake priest was caught after his phones were tracked down to Aielo de Malfertit in Valencia province.

 Call logs show that he was talking with other clerics in the area, so the Guardia are not ruling out further complaints.

There are currently claims against the fraudster in Cadiz, Santander, Cordoba, Ciudad Real, Lugo, Palma de Mallorca, Huelva, Leon, Huesca, Alicante and Cangas de Narcea.