Fake property developer cons lovelorn women out of £500k

Fake property developer cons lovelorn women out of £500k


A “serial love cheat” – who spun an elaborate web of lies and posed as a successful property developer – has been  jailed for almost seven years after tricking over 30 lovelorn women out of £500,000.

Bristol Crown Court heard how David Checkley, “a consummate fraudster” and a man with a “golden tongue”, had targeted often lonely and divorced women for more than twenty years, leaving a path of heartbreak, debts, and broken businesses in his wake.  

The 52-year-old met his female victims on dating websites, where he lied to them about being a property developer to in order to cheat money out of them for fake, high-stake investments.

The father-of-four also lied about being an architect, a fighter pilot in the Vietnam war, and a friend of US president Barack Obama.

He even claimed he was the father of golfing legend Tiger Woods.

Not only did he weave a web of deception to boast a successful professional status to gain investments, he also played the victim to some of the women, claiming he needed an operation for Parkinson’s disease.

Checkley was arrested after one of the victims complained to Avon and Somerset police.

Afterwards, women who had also been conned by Checkley were found in Bath, London, South-east England, the Midlands and even as far as the US.

One woman, Linda Miller, was persuaded into lending him £10,000 for the vital operation to cure his fictional illness, and was led to believe he had met famous ‘fellow sufferer’ Michael J Fox.

Checkley used the dating websites Dating Direct and Match Affinity where he met woman and convinced them he was a businessman, or another one of his counterfeit personas.

He even proposed marriage to some women, and forced others to remortgage their home so he could obtain their money.

One victim, Sharon Shearer, even lost her home after handing over £30,000 to the fraudster.

And another, Deborah Bacaglieri passed over power of attorney and lost £27,000.

While charmer Checkley’s victim’s lost their homes and businesses and their personal debts grew - he used the scam money to fund a lavish lifestyle of flash cars and expensive watches.

Police believe he swindled more than 30 victims out of £500,000, if not more, but the court settled on thirteen specific  charges of fraud which totalled £163,000.

Other woman were too frightened or embarrassed to come forward.

The court heard how Checkley also had previous convictions for blackmail, deception and forgery.

In 2002, he was jailed for GBH and false imprisonment after he lured Channel 4’s Big Breakfast host Mark Levy to a fake Rolex watch deal.

Mr Levy was murdered by two men, who were later jailed for life – while Checkley was acquitted of the murder.

Checkley – who is originally from Grenada – emigrated to America with his family when was three, before they moved to Britain aged eleven, and was warned by the judge he could face deportation upon his release form prison.  

Prosecutor Don Tait told Bristol Crown Court: “He conned a substantial amount out of a number of ladies who believed they were all the sole object of his affections.”

Rosemary Burns, defending, told the court that Checkley was sorry for what he had done.

Checkley admitted to nineteen charges and was sentenced to six years and ten months in prison. 

Ten of the love rat’s victims – who had lost between £2,000 and £50,000 each – were in court when he was sentenced.

One of his victims, Susan Baio used to run a nursery and lost her business, after being defrauded out of £3,155.

She told the BBC: “As a result of meeting Davis Checkley I have had to sell my business and I have to start entirely again from scratch.”

“This man has done wrong and he needs to be accountable for it.”

Checkley’s estranged daughter Amy said she was “disgusted” with her father and said: “I hope he’s deported.”

By Dawn Murden

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