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Man who conned Stephen Nolan back in court accused of fraud in Covid-19 loan claim

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John Cartmill was previously charged with defrauding TV personality Stephen Nolan

John Cartmill was previously charged with defrauding TV personality Stephen Nolan

Stephen Nolan

Stephen Nolan

John Cartmill was previously charged with defrauding TV personality Stephen Nolan

A serial fraudster who once conned Stephen Nolan appeared in court on Wednesday accused of fraudulently trying to claim a Covid-19 business loan.

John Cartmill (40) appeared at Lisburn Magistrates Court via videolink from police custody, and confirmed he understood the single charge against him.

Cartmill, from Coolnasilla Park in Belfast, is charged with fraud by falsely representing that he was Sean McMahon when he signed a an application for a Covid-19 business support loan on May 18 this year.

Detective Constable Torrance told the court she believed she could connect Cartmill to the charge and that she was objecting to bail as there are concerns that Cartmill would commit further offences as, of his 159 previous convictions, "86 are fraud related".

One of this convictions, she said, related to a fraud against "TV personality Stephen Nolan" and it was that notoriety which alerted bank staff.

The officer described how Cartmill had gone to the Dunmurry branch of the Ulster Bank with a partially completed application for a Covid-19 business support loan.

Parts of the form had not been completed and the detective claimed Cartmill filled them in and signed the form "in the name of Sean McMahon" before leaving the bank at around 10am.

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Stephen Nolan

Stephen Nolan

Stephen Nolan

It came to the attention of bank staff, however, that the man who signed the form was not Mr McMahon, but was in fact "John Cartmill, who has a previous conviction involving TV personality Stephen Nolan".

"That was reported to the police," said the officer adding that Cartmill was arrested at his home.

During police interviews, Cartmill "gave a full account of what had taken place," claiming that he was related to Mr McMahon who was "having difficulty" with the form, so had asked Cartmill "for help".

He further claimed that Mr McMahon has driven him to the bank and had been parked outside.

But DC Torrance told the court, however, that "at no stage during the application did Mr Cartmill tell the bank that he wasn't Mr McMahon or being him into the bank".

She highlighted that despite his claims Mr McMahon had driven him to the bank, he "isn't insured to drive that vehicle", while CCTV footage from the area isn't clear as to who was driving.

Describing the offence as "very, very unusual", defence solicitor Ciaran Toner said that according to his instructions, Mr McMahon stayed in his car as there was a young child with him, while Cartmill "was leaving the form in".

"The bank official went through the form and there seemed to be some points that needed amended, so he amended those and signed the amendments," said the solicitor, who conceded that by signing as Mr McMahon "technically that's an admission he makes to a very technical offence".

He argued, however, it "doesn't appear that he was trying to defraud anyone" as he had the consent of Mr McMahon, who was making a "legitimate application for the loan".

Mr Toner submitted that with a business and family ties, Cartmill could be freed on bail, albeit with strict conditions including that he "stay out of financial institutions".

Refusing bail, however, District Judge Amanda Brady told the solicitor "he didn't just sign something he should not have signed - he went to the bank and pretended he was someone he wasn't".

"I'm satisfied that there's a risk of reoffending and therefore I'm refusing bail for that reason."

Remanded into custody, Cartmill's case was adjourned to June 15.

Belfast Telegraph