Fraudster who targeted Harrogate woman for hundreds of thousands of pounds jailed
Nov 28, 2023
Marc Raven.
Marc Raven.

A serial fraudster who manipulated a Harrogate woman into giving him hundreds of thousands of pounds has been jailed.

Marc Raven, 61, claimed he was a successful businessman, and deceived the victim into marrying him and selling her home.

Raven, of no fixed address, caused “immeasurable damage” to her and her family, York Crown Court heard.

He pleaded guilty to fraud against two women.

Raven, who had also been known as Marc Bookey, Marc Cohen and Marc Stewart, met one of the victims through a dating app in January 2018, and they were married by October.

Raven told her he had a large amount of money in a Singaporean bank account that he was having difficulty accessing. He encouraged her to sell her home in Harrogate and use the money to live on, making her believe they would soon be buying a property worth more than £1 million.

Meanwhile, he was taking money from her, with the promise he would pay her back when his money arrived. They made offers on a number of houses, but this would never progress, with Raven blaming the sellers.

Between June 2018 and May 2019, the victim had transferred him more than £200,000. She had to declare herself bankrupt and move in with family.

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Raven was arrested by North Yorkshire Police. During the course of their investigation into him, officers discovered another victim in Singapore.

Raven had begun a relationship with her in 2016, and the following year he contacted her to say he had been hospitalised in Dubai, and needed money to pay medical fees and customs fines. 

In reality, Raven was fit and well in the UK. Between July 2017 and August 2018, the victim transferred about £100,000 to Raven.

When interviewed by police, Raven continued to claim that he had money in Singapore. As part of the investigation, international financial enquiries were carried out there, showing his claims were false.

‘Immeasurable damage’

In a personal statement read at court yesterday, the daughter of the woman Raven married said: 

“The damage Marc has done to my family is immeasurable, and no punishment will ever repair the damage he’s done to my mum. I just hope that he’s unable to cause this much harm and pain to anyone again.”

Raven was jailed for eight years and one month.

DC Neil Brodhurst, of North Yorkshire Police, said:

“Raven was a serial fraudster, who lied again and again to obtain money from women he was in a relationship with. It’s no exaggeration to say his deception has shattered lives.

“While nothing can undo the damage he has caused, I hope that this result can at least bring about some closure for the victims. And it will ensure that no one else can ever be taken in by his lies, or forced to suffer what they have endured.

“Financial abuse is a form of domestic abuse. It can happen to anyone of any age. Sometimes it can take a long time for victims to realise what is happening. But if you feel uncomfortable about how someone you know is behaving with your money, they may be financially abusing you.

“It’s not easy to take the first step to break free of financial abuse, but you will not be alone – the police are here to support you. Call us on 101. We will talk to you in confidence about the help that’s available.”

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