Monday, 20 July 2020

Tom the Con

IRELAND’S infamous fraudster Tom the Con last week narrowly avoided a stretch behind bars thanks to his loyal girlfriend even though he used her apartment for a rental scam. But Michelle Clarke has decided to stick by her man despite learning about his true crooked nature. A relieved-looking Tom said after the sentence hearing that he had turned over a new life and promised to dedicate his life to penal reform. “My ambition now is to work for penal reform and do a Nick Gleeson - work for the common good,” he told Fakes, frauds and scams.
The notorious spoofer blamed his past scamming on his booze addiction and being homeless for ten years. He paid €2,400 compo to the foreigners he had tricked into handing over a deposit to rent his girlfriend’s flat in Dublin 4 and got a glowing report from the Probation Service.
As a result Judge Frank O’Donnell said he would suspend the two and three year sentences.
Asked if he had really turned over a new leaf, Tom the Con swore blind he was now on the straight and narrow. “I have completely, yes.”
“I worked for eight years in the prison service I saved two lives from hanging. I could have rose to the top, but I couldn’t take any more of it. I was ten years homeless,” he said. He said he wanted to work on reforming Ireland’s jails. “I have a file on Mountjoy Prison that will take that prison to its f***ing knees,” he claimed.
He became infamous in the early 1990s for doing runners from B&Bs and hotel all over Ireland, shimmying down drain-pipes and sneaking out through windows to avoid paying the bill. Well-spoken and erudite Tom the Con has also been adept at chatting up the ladies, slipping a few of their blank cheques into his wallet before dumping them. One lady he charmed was left €13,000 out of pocket when she had to make good a cheque Tom the Con had bounced.
Over the years Tom the Con has told people he’s an architect, cancer specialist, an engineer, a garda, stud farm owner, a property developer and more. He used a variety of names including Tom McLaughlin, Thomas McLoughlin, Adrian Kennedy, Tom Fleming, Tom O’Malley, Tom Moore and Kevin Walshe. Originally from Ballyhaunis, County Mayo, he lived in Swords, north County Dublin for several years. He worked as a prison officer for ten years and received a commendation for the saving the life of prisoner who tried to hang himself. In another con in 1999, McLoughlin told an auctioneer he wanted to buy a €450,000 house while posing as an American millionaire. He befriended the owner and then made off with his jeep and ran up a IR£2,000 bill. In the past Tom the Con has even used meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous to make connections and to gather useful information.


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