Jail for Bogus Professor in [Pounds Sterling]1m Christie's Art Con

The Evening Standard (London, England), January 20, 2006 | Go to article overview

Jail for Bogus Professor in [Pounds Sterling]1m Christie's Art Con


Byline: PAUL CHESTON

A SERIAL hoaxer who tried to con Christie's out of more than [pounds sterling]1million worth of art by posing as a rich professor was jailed for five years today.

Robert Hyams, 51, successfully bid for six French paintings and tried to have them shipped to America.

When the police were called in unemployed Hyams fled to California where he lived in a [pounds sterling]1.8 million house, claiming to be a professor at Stanford University engaged in frontline cancer research.

In fact he had paid [pounds sterling]200 for a phoney certificate from the "University of Canterbury".

Threatened with extradition, he returned to Britain and was arrested at a Cambridge flat in 2004 and charged with the Christie's fraud.

While on bail, he set out to commit 81 more cons, including sending his two daughters to fee-paying Kings School, Ely, hiring a Mercedes and renting a four-bedroom house in Suffolk - all without paying. He also tried to con fine art auctioneers Bonhams into handing over [pounds sterling]6,750 of furniture.

Hyams, who now lives in Bury St Edmunds, pleaded guilty to attempting to obtain property by deception at Southwark Crown Court. …

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