Jailed: 'Serial fraudster' who faked terminal cancer and cost bosses £1.2m

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A serial conman who lied about having terminal cancer as he masterminded a scam that cost his bosses £1.2 million has been jailed for 10 and a half years. 

Christopher Theile, 39, was working as a salesman at Flashbay Ltd, which produces USB sticks.

In 2013 he said he had pancreatic cancer and secured six months of paid sick leave. A colleague gave him £6,000 to buy medication. 

From an internet cafe in Walthamstow, Theile emailed Flashbay managing director Stephen Webster, claiming that while at a Swiss cancer clinic he had met the director of a firm who was looking for an order of 400,000 USB sticks for Siemens.

He convinced Flashbay to start production on the USB sticks, at a cost of £1.2 million, and was given £22,000 in sick pay and £24,000 commission. 

Theile created an alias, Byran Hawkes, as the go-between in the Siemens deal, linking to a fake website in the name Jardines, a real firm in Hong Kong

As Ms Hawkes, he made up excuses for why payment had not come through. In January 2014 he told Mr Webster he had suffered a stroke and his cancer was terminal. Mr Webster eventually realised the Jardines website was a fake.

He employed private investigators to find Theile, who was arrested in September 2014 and charged with fraud. 

On bail, he pretended to be a stockbroker who had lined up an investment opportunity in property in Enfield. His neighbour, Dr Gherardo Girardi, an economics professor at St Mary’s University, handed over £66,000, believing that Theile was planning to invest it. 

Theile was found guilty of three counts of fraud and one of perverting the course of justice at Snaresbrook crown court. It heard he maintained a façade of a businessman with a wife and children and in 2005 had been jailed for four years in Germany for a €500,000 scam.

Jailing him on Friday, Judge John Radford said: “The facts reveal you to be a truly deceitful and dishonest man.”

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