Printer Friendly

GUEST HOUSE FRAUDSTER TOM FREED FROM PRISON; But Gardai still want to quiz cheeky conman.

BED and breakfast owners beware - cheeky conman Tom McLoughlin is back on the streets after four months of porridge.

McLoughlin walked out of Maghaberry prison in Northern Ireland earlier this week after serving a sentence for a pounds 1,500 fraud.

But Gardai will be quickly on his tail if he steps over the border as the travelling trickster is wanted for a litany of offences.

Files on notorious 'Tom the Con' have been compiled after people across the Republic made complaints against him.

The allegations range from minor deception of guest house owners to the more sinister sweet-talking of vulnerable woman into handing over their cash.

Gardai have vowed they will chase down McLoughlin if he comes over the border.

But there are no moves to extradite him and he's free to live in the north.

One Garda source said: "There will be no extradition proceedings because a lot of the complaints are not extraditable offences.

"There may be one or two but if we extradite him on them we would have to stick with them and will not be able to question him about all the other offences. There are a large number of complaints outstanding against him.''

A spokesman at Garda headquarters said it could not comment on individual cases.

The large Garda file is packed with complaints which flowed in following a long running cross country chase co-ordinated by Joe Duffy from his RTE Liveline studio in Dublin.

The programme received dozens of calls from irate punters who alleged that they had been conned by McLoughlin.

Others revealed the sunnier side of the fraudster's character, with some claiming he was a "good natured wide boy".

However, McLoughlin, 42, who is originally from Co Mayo, was tracked down to the Antrim coast in February this year.

Three weeks ago he was jailed for six months on a string of deception charges totalling pounds 11,500.

But after serving four months on remand, he was freed last week.

The confidence trickster - known to use up to eight different aliases - was finally traced to Carnlough after fleeing a Lurgan guest house without paying his bill.

Victims of his scams have hit out at the "leniency" of his sentence.

Lurgan guest house owner Bernadette O'Connor, said: "I am angry that he has got out, given the gravity of his crime.

"He fooled me and he fooled countless others. He was so plausible."

McLoughlin faced charges of leaving her Lurgan B&B in February, where he stayed under the name Pat O'Mahoney, without paying a pounds 100 bill.

He stayed for a week at her B&B, posing as a cable-laying contractor and told her he was keen to book the whole guest house for a week for colleagues.

Seven days later after he left, the guest house owner discovered he had fled with pounds 100 of her money and without settling his bill.

Following his arrest McLoughlin admitted both offences, along with the possession of a cheque book he knew to be stolen from the Republic.

He also pleaded guilty to further charges. The conman struck up friendships with two women in Newry, Co Down.

They told RUC detectives he had stolen pounds 3,000 in cash from one, on a date between January 3 and February 10 1997 and dishonestly obtained pounds 8,500 via two cheques from a second in the same period.

McLoughlin is said to have arrived in Newry in late 1996 posing as a Dr Tom O'Malley, a wealthy US businessman and hotel owner working on behalf of Cancer Research who was a potential election candidate for Co Mayo.

He also pleaded to two further charges of deception relating to a stay in Belfast last month where he called himself Tom Fitzgerald.

He dishonestly obtained a total of pounds 575 from a shop proprietor and bar owner in the area.

McLoughlin claimed he was a writer who was doing a book on the Troubles.

But he fled from the north Belfast boarding house to Carnlough, where he was finally tracked down.

McLoughlin, a former prison officer, has posed as a teacher, an engineer, a GP, a restaurateur and a horse breeder.

When he applied for bail in May, High Court judge Mr Justice McLaughlin refused it on the grounds that McLoughlin could "use guises" to abscond.

"When you tell me you have turned over a new leaf there isn't the slightest reason in the world to believe a word of that," said the judge.

He said: "It is clear you are, to use a colloquial expression, a conman of the old school."
COPYRIGHT 2000 MGN LTD
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Bresliin, John
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 17, 2000
Words:767
Previous Article:No such thing as a free lunch at the Beeb...
Next Article:Walker raises funds for stroke sufferers.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters