A 32-year-old Indian-origin man, dubbed as a "romance fraudster" by UK police, has been jailed for six years and one month after he was found guilty of conning six women he met online and luring them to invest huge amounts in non-existent companies.
Keyur Vyas, from east London, was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on Wednesday, marking the conclusion of a four-year-long investigation by Scotland Yard into his fraudulent activities.
The recruitment agent would befriend women online with the pretense of building a relationship with them by wining and dining them. The Metropolitan Police investigation found he had committed fraud against six different women, with his overall fraud estimated at over 800,000 pounds.
"Vyas used a tried and tested technique to commit fraud. He used the trust he had gained to get them to invest in non-existent companies," said Detective Constable Andy Chapman, from the Met Police's Central Specialist Command.
"He went as far as having fake contracts drawn up with outlandish conditions, but essentially he used the relationship to get their money. Vyas was selfish and cruel in his actions by emotionally involving the victims and conning them," he said.
The Met Police began an investigation into Keyur Vyas' activities in October 2014. They found that between 2014 and 2017, he was employed as a recruitment agent who would befriend women online under false pretenses.
The court was told that he would romance them and trick them into believing he was an affluent man working in finance. He would use commonalities with the victims, such as religion and his wish to start a family, to build trust with them.
Once he had gained their trust, Vyas would encourage them to invest in various business ventures for a large return. However, these ventures did not actually exist and he would use the money to gamble.
Vyas would also put pressure and be abusive to the victims to continue to invest more money in order to get the promised returns. He also used fear tactics and warned his victims that if they went to the police, they would lose all their money.
"Unfortunately, we see cases like this fairly often and my advice to anyone in an online relationship whatever the nature is never to send personal details or money to someone who you have never met in person," said Detective Chapman.
It was only when they did not receive their money back that the women began to report their concerns to the police.
Vyas pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud by false representation in March this year, while the remaining two charges will lie on his file. The total loss for all the charges is approximately logged at 808,942 pounds.