It has recently been reported in the media that a conman, who posed as an MI6 agent in order to convince a divorcee to give him £850,000 in life savings, has been found since he went missing in 2012.
Mark Acklom was found living in a luxury apartment in Switzerland last Saturday night. The divorcee, Carolyn Woods, has made allegations that she was conned in to “lending” Mr Acklom her significant savings while they were romantically together in 2012.
When Mr Acklom returns to the UK he will be facing 20 offences of fraud, 12 offences of converting or removing criminal property and 8 offences of fraud by false representation.
Whilst we don’t deal with criminal issues, this did have us wondering about the family law and matrimonial side of matters. The article refers to Ms Woods being a divorcee so you would assume that the £850,000 was a lump sum that she had received from her divorce settlement. What did those funds represent from the settlement? Was it a capitalised lump sum of spousal maintenance, which she was supposed to be used to financially meet her ongoing needs in the future? Or was it her share of the net proceeds of sale and other capital assets from the matrimonial pot, which again were supposed to meet her ongoing future needs?
With those funds disappearing, would she have had a claim to go back to her ex-husband and re-open the financial claims? Her ex-husband’s response could simply be “tough”, she should not have trusted someone that she had only met for one year with such a substantial amount of money. However she may have argued that Mr Acklom was such a good conman that he produced all of this documentation to prove he was a Swiss banker and part of MI6 and that she genuinely believed he was going to legitimately invest her money.
Lots of speculation around this case and it is a matter now to wait and see whether she is able to recover all of the funds via criminal proceedings.
For further advice in relation to divorce and separation, please contact one of our Associate Solicitors, Kirsten Tomlinson on 01625 544 650 or email Kirsten.Tomlinson@family-law.co.uk.