A ‘silver-tongued’ conman who once pinched a first edition James Bond novel was jailed for five-and-a-half years for stealing Warhol and Banksy prints in a £222,000 credit card scam.
Fraudster Wayne Fyffe, 45, enlisted art fanatic Michael Brown, 48, to collect four pieces of pop art worth £41,000 from an unsuspecting dealer late last year. A crooked hotel worker, who has not been caught, handed Fyffe ‘pages and pages’ of corporate credit card details he used to pay for the two Banksy and two Warhol pieces. Former picture hanger Brown went to collect the paintings at a hotel booked by Fyffe and then tried to sell them on to his contacts from the art world, the Old Bailey heard.
The scam was uncovered when Fyffe ‘got greedy’ and tried to buy a fifth Banksy from the dealer after he realised he’d been ripped off. He reported the pair to police, who discovered bagfuls of stolen credit card details at the fraudster’s home in Hackney. Fyffe made more than £183,000 worth of payments for hotel bookings, taxi journeys, a coffee machine and three van trailers, and made a further £48,218 worth of attempted transactions.
In 2006 he was jailed for six years for using false identities to steal diamonds, designer shoes and a signed first edition of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale – the first James Bond novel. He recruited a minion to sell the classic book on in New York, but he was busted after a suspicious American buyer alerted the New York Police Department.
Today (Thurs) he was jailed for five-and-a-half years at the Old Bailey after a jury convicted him of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.