The fraudster’s offences incurred losses of approximately £440,824.50.
A so-called ‘romance-fraudster’, Vimal Popat defrauded victims after meeting them on online dating apps such as Bumble.
41-year-old Vimal Popat from Slough in south-east England had romantic relationships with his victims who were mostly women and then deceived them.
He tricked them into invest in a fake business as a means to swindle their savings.
Popat convinced them he was a successful Forex trader. He claimed if they invested in his business they would gain profit.
To ensure his story was more believable, Popat created false documents to persuade his victims into investing.
The fake documents showed that he had a large bank balance thus ensuring their money was being well invested.
According to the Met Police, Vimal Popat’s offending began in 2013 and then stopped in 2015-16.
However, in 2019, he conned four victims in a single year.
Once victims had transferred their money into one of Popat’s bank accounts, he would use it to fund his lavish lifestyle. He would also gamble it away in casinos.
When his victims would chase their money, the romance-fraudster would use several excuses to avoid seeing them.
These included being in a car accident, having to attend a funeral, being taken into hospital and more.
Six out of eight victims were females. In fact, four of them were convinced they were in a romantic relationship with the conman.
Vimal Popat would meet them online where he would strike up a friendship with them.
After meeting them in person, he used to woo them for a period of months in order to gain their trust.
After he did this, Popat would then convince them to invest in his non-existent business.
Metropolitan Police Detective Constable, Chris Collins said:
“This was a selfish and callous crime that parted trusting decent people from their savings.
“So often victims of this type of offence don’t come forward, embarrassed by their own naivety but fraudsters such as Popat work hard on their back story and are incredibly convincing in the telling of their tales.”
“I commend the victims in this case for coming forward. Their actions have put a stop to Popat’s crimes and have no doubt spared others from falling victim to his schemes.
“I hope the sentence handed down today brings them some satisfaction.”
Alongside his romance-based victims, Popat also defrauded relatives, a former neighbour and a former work colleague.
After tricking a relative at a family wedding into thinking he was a successful currency trader, Popat took more than £300,00.
In total, the fraudster’s offences incurred losses of approximately £440,824.50.
However, police believe many victims have not come forward thus the figure is likely to be more.
Vimal Popat was arrested by Met Police officers from the Economic Crime Unit in North London on 5 March 2020.
Popat of Salt Hill Drive, Slough appeared in court on Thursday, 24 September 2020.
After pleading guilty he was sentenced for four years and four months for nine offences by false representation at Harrow Crown Court.