A property developer who conned a bank out of millions of pounds so he could live an exotic lifestyle has been jailed. Andrew Fuller, formerly of Tunbridge Wells, purchased a property in the town with a view to convert the site into 19 luxury apartments.
The 46-year-old secured a loan worth a total of £5.7million from a bank in 2005 which he claimed would be used to develop the site.
However, after the building work was completed Fuller found it increasingly difficult to sell the flats and senior staff at the bank became alerted to the difficulties he was having paying back the loan.
Fuller was told by the bank that he should not let any of the properties out to tenants as the apartments would lose value on the open market.
But despite this instruction, Fuller did in fact rent out some of the flats although none of the income raised appeared to be used to pay back the loan.
Instead, it funded extravagant shopping trips, luxury hotel stays in Knightsbridge, London, and holidays abroad to locations including Amsterdam and Switzerland.
By May 2009, the bank found it increasingly difficult to contact Fuller and had mail returned to it stating Fuller ‘gone away’.
Further checks on Fuller were carried out and by July found the majority of the remaining flats at Kingswood Birches had been sold and registered as such with the Land Registry without the bank’s knowledge.
Fuller had sold the properties – valued at around £4.65m - and not used the proceeds, around £3.137m, to pay back his loan.
Fuller, who had fled to the Far East, was arrested on 1 December 2012 by officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Organised Crime Unit at an address in Bath for fraud by false representation/money laundering.
In interview, he accepted full responsibility and admitted changing his name by Deed Poll and obtaining a passport in the name of Andrew Templar in a bid to avoid detection.
Fuller was sentenced to six years and three months for fraud, forgery and possession with intent to use a false ID at Maidstone Crown Court.
His honour Judge Carey, at the time of sentencing, told Fuller: "The offence was pure greed on your part."