Costa wealth pundit “Sir” Nigel Goldman has been found guilty of two counts of fraud in a UK court and is to be sentenced in January, causing soul searching from Spanish columnists who are comparing the rapid UK conviction with the stalled Spanish investigation which has yet to get going.
“Sir” Nigel, as he styled himself with no apparent reason to, was previously well known for his columns in the “Euro Weekly News” and his daily investment advice on “Spectrum FM”
He fled Spain in 2014 after allegedly giving bad investment advice which cost dozens of expats millions of euros in lost earnings.
The 58 year old was arrested last May by British police after returning to his old profession of selling coins over the internet. Furious online shoppers denounced him for fraud after over thousands of pounds of coins failed to materialise.
He was found to be living in Berkshire with his partner, under the name of Howard del Monte, having dropped his fantasy of being a knight of the Realm.
According to his local newspaper Newbury Today, police started an investigation after being called to a “scuffle”. A customer of Mr Goldman had tracked him down and was attempting to extract a refund.
An officer overheard Mr Goldman taunting his victim for being “stupid enough” to be conned in this way, and launched an investigation which resulted in “the Fat Fraudster” being arrested on three counts of fraud.
Thames Valley Police found that one victim, Australian Lee Cubit, had paid €2,288 for two Krugerrand coins whilst another, Mr Shephard, paid €13,128 for 40 gold sovereigns and two Krugerrands.
Nigel had advertised the coins as being a family inheritance, a claim he confessed in court was false. However, he blamed the British post office for having lost the coins.
He told investigators: “I would leave the package at the post office. On this occasion they lost the package”.
A jury at Reading Crown Court didn’t believe his excuses and unanimously found him guilty on two counts. The Judge will rule in early January on his sentence.
Nigel continues to post on his Facebook account, including such taunting rhymes as “The Knave of Hearts He Stole The Tarts and Sold them on eBay” [sic].
Investors who made money in the Spanish Ponzi scheme may be forced to repay those who lost out.
Ray, who invested in Goldman’s Spanish scheme and who admitted he had cashed out with a profit, told this reporter that he believed Nigel was innocent of the accusations, and had been an innocent victim of a more sophisticated scam. He also alleged that Nigel was the victim of an anti-Jewish conspiracy amongst British expats.
He said: “My Spanish lawyers say they expect anyone who made money will be forced to repay the gains. I now have no assets [in Spain]”.
Nigel has been in jail previously for selling fake coins, and wrote a book, called “High stakes”, about his experiences. Despite this, after he moved to Spain upon his release, a prominent expat freebie newspaper accepted his adverts for coin sales and later employed him as a columnist writing an investment column.
The conviction of fraudster Nigel Goldman by a UK jury this month has caused Spanish papers to analyse the ongoing Spanish investigation.
The influential ‘El Confidencial’ e-paper, in a damming editorial, was shocked by the lack of process in Spain. The paper thundered: “A poker card shark accused of fraud who operated along the Costa del Sol is sentenced in the UK just eight months after committing fraud [there]. In two years, the Spanish courts have barely started their investigation [into the millions he allegedly embezzled here]”.
Roberto Sánchez, a lawyer involved in the case, agreed: “Since the investigation opened in 2013, Nigel’s passport was not seized, he has not even been cited to testify”.
The Spanish Authorities first became aware of the activities of this unlicensed financial advisor in mid 2013 when the Marbella police received several denuncias from victims. That December officers sent the case to Marbella penal courts.
But a simple error in the files caused a catastrophic decision. The files stated that the money had been sent to a Barcelona bank account, and Marbella courts ordered the case to be sent there for investigation.
It was later discovered that the investigators had mistakenly substituted Barcelona for nearby Fuengirola.
Six months had passed and no investigation had even started, thanks to this simple mistake. The case was returned to the original Judge who now decided to send it to a court in Fuengirola, who initially refused it. It was not until March 25th of this year that Fuengirola finally accepted the investigation. But the over-loaded courts have other cases with more priority and the criminal investigation still has not fully started.
Worse happened in Vera (Almeria), where three victims who were lured into Nigel’s trap had filed a joint complaint. The local Judge decided it was a civil matter and closed the penal investigation. The victims have appealed the decision.
With just ten judges per 100,000 inhabitants, the Spanish court system is one of the slowest, most over-burdened and under-funded in the European Union.
Spain also has an excess of lawyers – a 2014 study said there were more penal lawyers in Madrid region than in the whole of the UK.
Earlier this year thousands of Spanish lawyers and judges joined a twitter campaign demanding more resources for the penal system.
Meanwhile, unlicensed fraudsters like “Sir” Nigel – as he used to title himself – continue to operate with near impunity along the Costas.
The above is a modified and expanded version of a series of articles I first published in the Costa Almeria News.