By Henry Vaughan, PA
The Only Way Is Essex star Lewis Bloor was part of a £3 million diamond scam before launching his television career, a court has heard.
More than 200 victims, many of whom were elderly, were allegedly conned into buying the small, coloured stones as an investment after being “told lies” during cold calls.
Bloor, 31, who joined the cast of the ITV2 reality show for three years from 2013, denies conspiracy to defraud between May 7 2013 and July 1 2014 at Southwark Crown Court.
He is on trial alongside Joseph Jordan, 29, from Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, George Walters, 29, from Beckenham, in Kent, Max Potter, 25, of Enfield, Middlesex, Nathan Wilson, 28, of Brentwood, Essex, and Simon Akbari, 27, from Loughton, Essex.
The alleged fraud relates to two companies, Imperial Assets Solutions and Henderson & Forbes, which were involved in selling coloured diamonds.
“Each one of these six defendants was involved in both, with one exception, Lewis Bloor, who left at some point in 2013 to pursue a career in television,” said prosecutor David Durose QC.
“In total, over 200 people were conned into buying coloured diamonds and the companies defrauded those people out of a total of well over £3 million.”
He said police took the statements of dozens of alleged victims, many of whom were elderly and had been encouraged to part with a chunk of their life savings or pension pots.
“All of those involved tell a similar story.
“Every single one of them has lost their money.”