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Fraudster ran up hotel bill after claiming he had £1m. to buy it

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AFTER claiming to have more than £1m. and plans to buy La Trelade Hotel, John Michael Tomlin stayed at the hotel for free for four months and defrauded the business out of £12,000.

La Trelade Hotel. (26358393)

The Magistrate’s Court heard how the 64-year-old, who has no fixed address, had come to Guernsey originally to try to rekindle a romance with an old flame. But when it did not work out, he found himself homeless and checked into La Trelade for two nights at the start of June, paying £157.

But now he had run out of money and starting lying to the hotel owner.

Tomlin told him he had £1m., which was being held by HMRC. He said he planned to use the money to buy local businesses, including the hotel.

To continue the ruse he invited an advocate to the hotel to discuss buying the business.

While the hotel owner did ask Tomlin about his outstanding hotel bill, he was allowed to stay there without paying any more money because he was buying the property.

At various stages he called and emailed the hotel owner to reassure him everything was going ahead. At one point he even pretended to be his own son.

In October, the hotel owner challenged Tomlin and the defendant admitted not having money to purchase the hotel or pay his bill.

Tomlin pleaded guilty to making a false representation.

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In total he defrauded the business out of £12,807.30. He had no previous convictions.

Defence advocate David Domaille said his client had been honest with police about his offending.

He asked the court to note that Tomlin had not come to the island intending to defraud the hotel.

Judge Gary Perry said that this matter was all the more serious as many local hotels were struggling to make ends meet.

Tomlin was sentenced to six months in prison.

Juliet Pouteaux

By Juliet Pouteaux
News reporter

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