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Romance fraudster who conned at least 10 women out of £100,000 is jailed

David Checkley (Metropolitan Police)
David Checkley (Metropolitan Police)

A romance fraudster has been jailed for 11 years after he conned around £100,000 out of at least 10 women.

David Checkley, 65, spent more than a decade targeting women from the ages of 40 to 70 between February 2017 and February 2021.

He meet his victims on dating apps and then tricked them into believing "he was an intelligent, knowledgeable and powerful man, before encouraging them to send him money," the Metropolitan Police said.

His fake identities included him being a fighter pilot, a Vietnam War veteran, a successful architect, having powerful friends and an ex-wife who was an American billionaire

Checkley, who used the name David Cohen, would eventually ask to borrow money, claiming his house was falling down or that he had the opportunity to buy a Rolex at a knock-down price.

At least one victim had been in a relationship with Checkley for five years without knowing what he had been doing.

He was caught when detectives became suspicious of him in June 2021, after several victims reported him.

The police found two new Harley Davidson motorbikes worth approximately £40,000 (Metropolitan Police)
The police found two new Harley Davidson motorbikes worth approximately £40,000 (Metropolitan Police)

When officers went to his home, on Bains Drive, St Albans, he was on holiday in Ibiza - but he was arrested when he returned.

Searches revealed invoices relating to the purchase of expensive jewellery, a brochure for a large mansion in Hertfordshire and a receipt in a woman’s name for a £7,250 Rolex watch purchased in 2018.

Investigators also found two new Harley Davidson motorbikes worth around £40,000 in his garage. A Mini and three Mercedes were found parked near to the address.

Checkley, of of Bains Drive, St Albans, was handed an 11-year sentence at the Old Bailey on Wednesday, after being found guilty of 19 counts of fraud and one count of theft.

Detective Superintendent John Roch, from the Met’s Economic Crime Team, said: “Our determination remains resolute in ensuring that offenders like Checkley are held accountable and brought to justice.

“There is no doubt that Checkley is a prolific and systematic fraudster who spun a web of lies to his victims. He abused the honest intentions of his victims in the most callous way. He is a fantasist who claimed to lead an enviable lifestyle but in reality, he is a criminal who deceived innocent people for his own financial gain.

“Most importantly, I want to commend the women who came forward to report Checkley. They have shown incredible strength for following their instincts when something felt amiss and then reporting him to police. Romance fraud is a crime that has both an emotional and financial impact on victims and I hope that today’s sentencing can begin to give some closure to the women in this case.”