A UK man who claimed to be friends with former prime minister Boris Johnson, a pilot with a multimillion-dollar trust fund and a cruise ship captain has been exposed as a decades-long fraudster who defrauded people out of millions of dollars, according to a report.
Jodi Frances Oliver, 45, is currently behind bars for fraud and theft after living seven different lives and allegedly defrauding people out of around $5.6 million. The Times of London reported. For decades, the man reportedly held different powerful identities, despite being an unemployed married father of three.
Oliver allegedly started his lies after leaving high school when he worked as a special constable at Dyfed-Powys Police Station in Wales. He lost his job with the department after he forged a letter to the superintendent claiming to be a superior officer that praised Oliver’s work as an officer and said he had won a policing award, according to the Times.
He went on to marry his school teacher wife in 2002, and set up a driving school, eventually hooking up with British Rally Champion Colin McRae. The conman, who has been likened by British media to American convict Frank Abagnale of “Catch Me if You Can” fame, told the driver he had secured him a sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola. He also allegedly told another young driver that he secured him a sponsorship deal of more than $400,000 with Ryanair, claiming he was friends with the Irish airline’s chief executive. Neither deal was real, according to the Times.
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“What he was doing all this for, I’m not sure,” said Campbell Roy, McRae’s director of operations, who died in 2007. “It was probably just an ego trip,” he added, explaining the lies provided Oliver with an immediate financial boost. avail.
Oliver was caught by police for forging documents for the bogus sponsorships and sentenced to community service in 2004, but the demerits only increased from there, the report shows.
He went on to found gaming slot companies in 2009 where he claimed to colleagues that he was friends with Boris Johnson and that he dressed in expensive clothes and drove expensive new cars such as Range Rovers. By 2010, bank records showed he was thousands of dollars in debt and had been caught playing slots constantly, according to those who worked with Oliver.
“If you met Jody, you wouldn’t want to meet a nicer man,” Anthony Brooks, who eventually bought one of Oliver’s companies, told the Times. “But working with him turned out to be one of the worst experiences of my life.”
Oliver reportedly began spending more time away from his family during those years, claiming he co-owned a funeral home and had to work “death duty” on certain weekends. Oliver reportedly actually spent his weekends under the alias ‘Jonathan Kane’ in the Welsh town of Tredegar, where he allegedly told people he was a police officer who had a rich boyfriend.
By 2011, Oliver was using the name “Jonathan Flynn Oliver” and began dating 19-year-old Rhys Burgess, whom she met on a gay dating app. Oliver claimed to his friend that he was Jaguar Land Rover’s “events manager” and the pair eventually moved in together. Oliver was still married to his wife, according to the report, who believed her husband spent his weekends working at the funeral home.
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The couple got engaged in 2013, with Oliver funding a lavish lifestyle, including holidays for the two of them at an ice hotel in Sweden, dinner at the Eiffel Tower and putting his boyfriend on the payroll at one of his gambling businesses.
By 2016, Oliver called his wife’s father and claimed his bank account had been hacked and he needed cash. His father-in-law transferred about $130,000 to him before realizing Oliver had lied to him and contacting police, the Times reported.
In 2018, his gambling debts started to pile higher at around $160,000 and he needed more money. He told his fiance he got a job as a cruise ship captain and another false identity was born.
Oliver reportedly hung around a Welsh bar wearing a captain’s uniform and went by the name ‘Captain Jonathan’. He would offer discounted cruise tickets to those in the pub, promising people that taxis would pick them up on the day of departure. But a taxi never arrived and Oliver reported himself to police in January 2019. He was charged with defrauding just under $400,000 from 21 victims, many of whom were elderly and retired.
Word spread throughout the Welsh community about Oliver’s lies, which eventually reached his wife, who discovered a Facebook profile with his secret fiance. However, days after he was interviewed by police, Oliver traveled 70 miles away to Worcestershire, took the name “Joey Oliver” and got a job at a Volvo dealership, the Times reported.
He told his colleagues at the garage that he used to work for Volvo in Sweden and was fluent in Swedish. A colleague, however, recorded Oliver speaking what he said was Swedish on a phone call, ran it through Google translate and discovered it was gibberish.
He also sold thousands of dollars worth of fake Volvo stock to an 89-year-old former racehorse trainer and sold a car to another woman, but the vehicle was never delivered to her driveway, according to the report.
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He was eventually arrested for the captain’s scams, claimed to have a brain tumor, and tried to tell the police that he actually worked for a cruise line and that they were responsible for the cruise ticket issues. He was eventually released on bail for defrauding the cruise captain as well as selling fake Volvo shares. However, the police continued to search for him.
He took on another persona 100 miles away from Worcester, named “Joe Oliver”, who worked at another car dealership. He claimed to colleagues that he had previously worked as global head of events for Ford Motor Company in the US and that he knew “Mr. Ford” personally.
In late 2020, he changed his identity once again, this time telling people he was a British Airways pilot flush with cash after his fake dead grandmother left him $37 million in her will.
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She met another man on a gay dating app, 27-year-old barber Liam Britten, whom she showered with gifts including designer clothes and expensive underwear, the report said. He proposed to Britten on Valentine’s Day that year and became close to the man’s family. He went on to swindle Britten’s elderly relatives out of about $9,000, claiming he could offer them discounted flights to the 2021 British Grand Prix. The tickets never existed, the family discovered, and Oliver became suspicious, the Times reported.
Britten and Oliver spent Christmas at a friend’s flat in Westbourne Gardens, where he sold about $37,000 in “discount” plane tickets to acquaintances. Oliver then continued to pretend he had cancer in his spine and leg and was being looked after by Britten’s family.
Oliver claimed to Britten and his family in August 2021 that he was off on a mission, but never returned.
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Oliver was sentenced in August 2022 to six years and one month for cruise ticket fraud. In May this year, Oliver pleaded guilty to a further 17 counts of fraud and theft relating to his time as a car salesman, as well as lying to his father-in-law in order to receive $130,000.
Of the estimated $5.6 million he stole from people, he made about $1.5 million, according to the Times. The court seized all of his assets in May, which totaled 351 pounds, or about $434. Many of his victims have not recovered their losses from Oliver’s scams, the newspaper noted.
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The judge presiding over Oliver’s case this year described him as a “deceitful and thoroughly dishonest character who will stop at nothing to deceive others”.