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Conman used ‘monopoly cash’ switch sleight to live high on bling

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Conman ‘Scammed dealers out of diamonds, jewellery and watches worth over £500,000 using MONOPOLY money’. Real money was switched out as soon as it was shown to merchants

‘Scammed dealers out of diamonds, jewellery and watches worth over £500,000 using MONOPOLY money’

  • Gianni Accamo linked to scams to in London, Bristol and Leeds, jury told 
  • 44-year-old alleged to have scammed dealers using board game cash  
  • The wads of cash were branded with ‘Monopoly’ down the centre of notes
  • They were ‘switched out’ with real Euros initially shown to the buyers

Victims were swindled by this Monopoly money after it was switched with real Euros shown to the jewellers during three scams in London, Bristol and Leeds, a court heard
The jury at Bristol Crown Court was told the scheme went unnoticed until after the buyers had left, despite the word Monopoly written in huge letters down the middle of the bills.
The paper cash bears a slight resemblance Euro notes but the colour scheme is much lighter and the images on the bills are out of focus compared to the real deal.

Accused fraudster Gianni Accamo, 44, is linked to all three scams, Bristol Crown Court heard. Jurors were told the dealers witnessed the Euros being counted out in a machine, which were then secretly swapped over when one of the alleged offenders went to put the counting machine back in its case. The victims only realised the scam after they had transferred the goods, the court heard.
David Hughes, prosecuting, said Accamo was part of a gang that targeted Australian jewellery dealer John Calleija, who has a shop in the Royal Arcade in London’s Old Bond Street. Mr Calleija was told an investor had five million euros to buy diamonds and a gemologist – allegedly Accamo – went to inspect his stock of precious stones.

336ec18b00000578-3553486-the_bills_have_a_slight_resemblance_to_real_euros_but_have_the_w-a-20_1461317596040
The bills have a slight resemblance to real Euros but have the word Monopoly written in capitals on the middle336ec17e00000578-3553486-prosecutor_david_hughes_said_the_monopoly_money_pictured_was_swa-a-18_1461317596038Prosecutor David Hughes said the Monopoly money, pictured, was swapped for real Euros while a money counting machine was put back in its case

A deal was struck at a Convent Garden hotel where Mr Calleija and a bodyguard used his cash counting machine to count bundles of 500 euro notes, totalling 7.7million euros.
Mr Hughes told the court: ‘When Mr Calleija finished counting the notes the machine didn’t pick up a single problem.
‘He turned to place his counting machine into its case. They leave the room.’
But Mr Hughes said that was when the real euros were switched for bundles of fake notes with ‘facsimile’ written on them, masked by paper bands on the outside.
The diamonds were collected from Mr Calleija’s shop and it was only later he discovered he had been had, the court heard.
Mr Hughes said: ‘You can imagine the horror when he goes to check the cash.
‘It is immediately apparent it is not the same that he had counted in the hotel. It’s counterfeit.
‘At some point during that fatal turn around to put that cash counting machine away, the real money has been switched.
‘The fake money has been substituted and the criminals had disappeared with the diamonds.’
Mr Hughes said Accamo was also linked to a £420,000 fraud in Bristol involving Wales-based jeweller Jack Cohen who had struck a deal to sell watches and diamonds.
Mr Cohen brought watches to a Bristol hotel but left his diamonds at David Edwards Jewellers in Cardiff. Mr Cohen was told he would be paid in euros and he used a testing pen to count bundles of 100 euro notes which appeared to be real, the court heard.

He put the cash in a bag and gave permission for the diamonds to be couriered to the buyers in August 2014.
Mr Hughes said: ‘Mr Cohen leaves Bristol and goes to Cardiff. He’s got fake euros saying Monopoly, with banding covering the word Monopoly.
‘He immediately calls police. His loss is around £420,000.’
The court heard that Accamo, of no fixed address, was also linked to a £192,000 scam in Leeds.
It involved a man called Marvin Santos who lost nine expensive watches and a diamond linked gold chain to a con gang between September and November 2014.
Accamo denies conspiracy to commit fraud in August 2014 by making false representations in order to obtain watches and jewellery worth £420,000 in Bristol.
He also denies theft involving Mr Marvin Santos but has admitted conspiracy to commit fraud in the London scam.
The trial continues.

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