Jail for fashion design conman who wooed victims with Oscars red carpet lies
A fashion design conman who stole a fortune from wealthy clients with promises of red carpet tickets to The Oscars has been jailed after West Midlands fraud police exposed his scam.
Alvin Loy Wong (pictured) boasted to be the creative brains behind many Christian Dior designs and talked investors into handing over £100,000’s to fund a bogus haute couture clothing range bearing his name.
The 50-year-old – who met his victims at charity fundraising events – also claimed he could whisk backers away to Los Angeles and a seat at the Academy Awards alongside A-listers like Julia Roberts.
However, investigators from the West Midlands Regional Fraud Team found Loy squandered their money on a lavish lifestyle and gambling – blowing £953,000 at one Birmingham casino alone.
Officers began probing Malaysian-born Loy’s dealings in 2013 after a woman reported he’d pocketed £2,000 from a charity bash in Birmingham for her terminally-ill husband.
Enquiries led them to identify a businessman – who runs care homes across the Midlands – who’d ‘invested’ more than £130,000 in his fashion project, plus a Nottingham estate agency boss who was tricked into handing over £112,000.
Examination of Loy’s accounts showed he withdrew £187,000 from casino cashpoints between 2010 and 2015 – but in police interview claimed gambling was a legitimate business expense as “casinos are good places to cultivate contacts”.
However, at Birmingham Crown Court today (19 Sept) he was jailed for six years after being found guilty of fraud by false representation, plus mortgage fraud after obtaining a home loan on the back of fake payslips suggesting he worked for Laura Ashley.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Alistair Gadd, said: “Loy organised charity fundraising events at prestigious hotels in Birmingham and London during which he would host a fashion show of his designs to attract wealthy customers.
“He boasted of attending the Oscars every year and dressing stars like Julia Roberts in his creations. He put Oscars tickets – supposedly acquired through his lofty position with Dior – up as auction prizes at the charity events.
“However, he always later cancelled the trips often citing ill health and on one occasion saying the winning bidder had failed US customs checks. In reality, the tickets never existed and the Director of Membership at The Academy confirmed tickets were not transferable and never made available to the public or charities.
“Despite this he managed to persuade several people to back his bogus clothing range and defrauded hundreds of thousands of pounds through his elaborate lies.
“One of his victims transferred 14 instalments in just over a year – and Loy’s banking records shows he often spent each ‘investment’ in less than 24 hours at Broadway Casino in Five Ways.
“We also found a fake email supposedly sent to him by a colleague at Dior but employment records showed he never worked for the company.
“Loy was a very plausible conman and one his victims even agreed to work for him for free as a Personal Assistant.
“His scam affected victims psychologically as well as financially; some were not particularly wealthy and thought their money was going to good causes but in reality it was funding Loy’s extravagant lifestyle.
“I’m pleased the court has recognised the seriousness of Loy’s offending and handed down a significant custodial sentence.”