'Goldman Sachs' con artist tricked woman out of $1m

Dec 20, 2012

Trickster was actually living in a bedsit on benefits: 'I lie as easily as I breathe,' he confided to victim

A CONMAN tricked $1 million from a wealthy woman living in the Turks and Caicos tax haven by posing as a retired Goldman Sachs billionaire when he was actually a university drop-out living on benefits in a bedsit in Sussex.
Alistair Stewart, a 53-year-old ex-public schoolboy, first contacted Nina Siegenthaler, 37, via a real estate website in September 2010. He then wooed her for six months on Skype, exploiting the breakdown of Siegenthaler's marriage by inventing a wife for himself, who he claimed had died in 2002.

Siegenthaler admitted to falling in love with him before handing over her life savings for what she believed was a shrewd property investment. As The Guardian reports, Stewart used the money to buy a £55,000 Mercedes and to pay for five-star hotel visits as well trips in helicopters to keep up the facade. He even spent £31,000 on a designer watch as a gift for Siegenthaler.

At the Old Bailey yesterday, Stewart was jailed for five-and-a-half years after the court heard that he had been convicted of similar frauds in 1982, 1988, 1992 and 2005. In the latter case, he was jailed for two years for conning an elderly widow over a six-year period.

Stewart is a former Charterhouse pupil who dropped out of Cambridge University and has harboured resentment since being disinherited by his wealthy parents, says the Evening Standard.

Siegenthaler, a vice-president of Sotheby's International Realty, said she hoped her ordeal would serve as a warning to other potential victims.

“Mr Stewart artfully dropped names of US bankers and brokers and told detailed stories about his alleged 10 years with Goldman Sachs, his wife Steph and his beloved daughters,"she said."None of it was true. He is a brilliant liar. He confided in me: 'I lie as easily as I breathe'.”

Judge Stephen Kramer told Stewart he had caused "immense psychological as well as financial harm”.

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