A man who had romantic relationships with women and then defrauded them has been jailed.
Vimal Popat’s victims were mostly women he met using online dating sites such as Bumble.
The Slough man would strike up an online friendship with his targets, and then typically go on to form romantic relationships with his victims in person.
His offences are believed to have totalled £440,824.50 – and police believe there may be more victims who have not yet come forward.
Officers say the bogus foreign currency trader was ‘incredibly convincing’.
Police say that after wooing them over a period of months and gaining their trust, he would persuade them to invest their money in a non-existent business.
In all cases, he duped his victims into believing he was a successful Forex trader.
He tricked them into thinking they were investing in his business with the promise of healthy profits gained through the purchase and sale of currencies.
The reality was very different.
The victims’ money was transferred into one of Popat’s bank accounts – and he would use it to finance his lifestyle or gamble it away in casinos.
But he strung along his romantic victims for months.
He would use a number of excuses for being unavailable to see them, such as being in a car accident, being hospitalised, being robbed and even attending a funeral.
He also created false banking documents to persuade victims that his accounts had a healthy balance and that their money was being invested.
Now the serial fraudster has been jailed for nine offences at Harrow Crown Court.
Popat, 41, of Salt Hill Drive, Slough, appeared at court on Thursday, September 24.
He had previously pleaded guilty, but has now been sentenced to four years and four months’ imprisonment for each count of fraud by false representation.
The sentences will run concurrently.
His offending, which began in 2013, stopped during 2015-2016, but escalated to an extreme during 2019 where he duped four victims in a single year.
In addition to the romantic victims he targeted, Popat also tricked relatives, a former work colleague and a former neighbour.
The Metropolitan Police say he impressed them with his apparent business acumen and enticed them to part with cash in exchange for empty promises of financial profit.
Six of the total eight victims were female, four of whom were convinced by Popat that they were in a romantic relationship.
He took more than £300,000 from a relative after tricking him into believing he was a successful currency trader at a family wedding.
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 that the sentence handed down today brings them some satisfaction.”
Popat was arrested by officers from the Economic Crime Unit based at Hendon on Thursday, March 5.
He was charged the following day and remanded in custody to appear at Harrow Crown Court on Monday, August 10 where he entered a guilty plea and was further remanded for sentencing.