Phony UK ‘golf developer’ jailed


Sean Dudley

A British conman has been jailed for four years after swindling £400,000 from two businessmen by pretending to be a landowner interested in developing a golf course.

John Cameron, 79, pleaded guilty to six charges of obtaining money by deception and another of making false representations in a trial at Leeds Crown Court. Cameron had claimed he was the owner of the 315-acre Balbuthie Farm, located between Elie and Anstruther in Fife, Scotland.

He assumed the identity of the real owner of the farm, John Bell Cameron, in order to persuade the businessmen to invest £300,000 and £100,000 in his proposed golf course.

Cameron actually took one of his two victims to visit the site, accompanied by a representative of a golf course design firm, but told them that his ancestral home on the property could not be viewed, as it was being rented by the Church of Scotland.

Cameron’s defence lawyer, Paul Cabin, told the court he was a Walter Mitty character, and that he really believed his scheme would make money for his victims. But the judge highlighted a report describing him as ‘entirely selfish, self-seeking and amoral,’ and sent him to jail.