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'Disreputable' Coalville conman James George Tomkins avoids going to prison


A "Walter Mitty" character masqueraded as a high-flying legal professional in order to obtain a mortgage, a court heard.

James George Tomkins was branded "a disreputable, dishonest rogue" and given a suspended jail sentence during a hearing at Leicester Crown Court yesterday.

The 61-year-old undischarged bankrupt was on state benefits when he tried to obtain a £160,000 mortgage by falsely claiming he was a £90,000-a-year legal professional working in Botswana, expecting a £70,000 bonus.

He failed to declare the bankruptcy in his mortgage application, prosecutor Gary Short told the court.

Tomkins, a father-of-two, of Forest Road, Coalville, admitted making a false representation in a mortgage application on June 17, 2009.

He also admitted possessing five bogus documents for use in fraud, which the police recovered from his home.

The forms were business letters or e-mails with fraudulent job descriptions, including chief financial officer, company barrister, senior partner and senior vice president, which were signed off by Tomkins.

One of the documents purported to be a purchase order for 120 million barrels of oil.

Sentencing, Judge Simon Hammond said: "He could only have had those false documents for the purpose of fraud, but they weren't used.

"The defence describe him as a Walter Mitty who masqueraded as different characters.

"He was holding himself out as someone he wasn't and he had wanted to get a lot of money on a mortgage."

Tomkins received a 21-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, with 280 hours of unpaid work.

The court was told the Inland Revenue had no records of Tomkins declaring any income between 2007 and 2009.

There was £16,000 in his bank account on his arrest, which was initially frozen.

No mortgage was ever granted and no-one lost out financially from his offences, the court heard.

However, Tomkins was convicted of theft and given a suspended sentence in 1988.

In 1997, while offering services as an investment broker, he defrauded victims out of advanced fees and was jailed for two years.

As an example of his Walter Mitty-style lies, unrelated to any charges, the court heard in 2008, Tomkins claimed at his children's prep school he was a Queen's Counsel barrister working on a murder trial in Sheffield.

During a viewing for a house worth £585,000, he told the owners he was a solicitor for an oil company. At another house, valued at almost £1 million, he told the estate agent he was a judge.

In mitigation, Mark Kimsey said Tomkins was formerly a commodity trader.

He had applied to a broker for a £160,000 mortgage, hoping to buy the home he was renting, but he did not pursue it when further confirmation was sought. The application never reached the building society, the court heard.

Mr Kimsey said: "He's changed his life since these offences."

'Disreputable' Coalville conman James George Tomkins  avoids going to prison

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