Belfast Telegraph

Fraudster stole £50k from Stephen Nolan and Sky's Eamon Holmes

A serial fraudster is facing jail for ripping-off TV stars Eamonn Holmes and Stephen Nolan to the tune of £50,000.

By Ciaran Barnes

Brazen Belfast conman Jay Cartmill stole from the celebrities after getting hold of their credit and bank card details.

The 32-year-old swindler blitzed their accounts, stealing £17,820 from BBC presenter Nolan and £30,000 from This Morning host Holmes.

Nolan last night wasn’t commenting about the scam, but told Sunday Life previously that he has never met Cartmill.

A spokeswoman for Eamonn Holmes also declined to comment.

Jay Cartmill — nicknamed ‘Catch Me If You Can’ after conman Frank Abagnale, who was played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie of the same name — appeared at Belfast Crown Court on Thursday.

He admitted illegally accessing a credit card issued to Stephen Nolan on 42 separate occasions to steal £17,820.

The west Belfast man also confessed to impersonating Eamonn Holmes and trying to take £30,000 from an account belonging to the TV star’s company Red, White and Green Ltd.

The charge stated that Cartmill obtained goods and services by falsely claiming he was authorised to use a Barclays Bank debit card issued to the account of Eamonn Holmes.

Devious Cartmill also told bank staff that he was Eamonn Holmes and had an interest in Red, White and Green Ltd.

He confessed to using the same Barclays debit card number to purchase around £17,000 worth of building materials from various suppliers in Northern Ireland while claiming to be ‘Eric Holmes’.

The notorious thief also admitted using credit cards belonging to people named in court as ‘Martin Sullivan’ and ‘Tony Banks’ to pay for goods and services.

These included return flights to Portugal and Amsterdam and a £1,587 meat delivery.

The chancer also toured post offices around west Belfast and Fermanagh during an 11-day period in 2009 and used stolen Abbey/Santander account numbers to withdraw €35,030.

Branches he targeted include those at Woodvale, Andersonstown, Suffolk, Turf Lodge, Whiterock, Belleek, Kesh and Enniskillen.

In total, Cartmill admitted 49 charges of fraud by false representation, 12 counts of converting criminal property, and five charges of obtaining services dishonestly. The crimes against Stephen Nolan and Eamonn Holmes took place in early 2011.

Freeing the conman on bail Judge David McFarland said he would sentence him next month.

Cartmill, who has a long history of confidence scams, is now lying low.

He is not long out of jail, having being released earlier this year following a 12 month sentence for a £310,000 fraud spree.

Despite being released from Maghaberry Prison for a number of weeks, Cartmill has not bothered to tell his own mother that he is back walking the streets.

Sunday Life had to break the news to long-suffering mum, Geraldine when we called to her house in the Glencolin estate while looking for him on Friday.

She burst into tears when told that her conman son had been in court 24 hours earlier to plead guilty to 66 new fraud charges.

“I didn’t even know he was out of jail,” sobbed Geraldine.

Until his arrest in 2011 Cartmill was a key member of a crime gang, based in the Turf Lodge estate in west Belfast.

One of the gang’s scams involved crooked hotel staff who would provide the gang with the phone numbers of guests who had stayed for the night in return for cash.

Cartmill would ring his victims the following day, posing as the hotel manager, to explain that they had been overcharged and ask for their bank details and codes so he could process a refund.

Once he was in possession of these details Cartmill would either try to withdraw cash, or use the accounts to pay for jewellery or expensive building materials.

However, it is understood Cartmill used a different type of fraud when he targeted the accounts of Nolan and Holmes.

Criminal sources described Cartmill as a “first class conman” and revealed how he made two brothers from west Belfast a fortune.

“Jay is the best liar I ever came across, we used to call him ‘Catch Me If You Can’ after the film about the conman, but he is also very naive and easily led,” said a pal.

“He did all the scams for the brothers who milked him dry, and then threw him to the wolves when the police started investigating.

“It’s sad really because Jay considered them to be father figures, but they used and abused him.

“The brothers were nowhere to be seen when almost 100 SOCA cops raided different addresses he would use.”

Our source explained how Cartmill first embarked on a life of crime doing cigarette runs to Spain.

The brothers would pay for his holidays in return for him smuggling a suitcase filled with tax evaded cigarettes back to Northern Ireland .

In 2002 Cartmill was arrested at Belfast International Airport with a haul of tobacco.

He later claimed that while being questioned by customs officials Special Branch attempted to recruit him as an informer.

This was a lie that would spiral out of control when Sinn Fein picked up on it and put Cartmill in front of a packed press conference.

The conman shamelessly told the media he had attempted suicide after the fictional Special Branch meeting, which in fact had never happened.

Cartmill later set up an ill-fated restaurant in the Turf Lodge estate in west Belfast.

During this period Cartmill was leading a double life — thieving from celebrities like Stephen Nolan and Eamonn Holmes by day, but by night trying to forge his own media career.

The criminal was a director of Strictly Promotions which organised X Factor-style talent shows, and trawled clubs and pubs throughout Northern Ireland on the hunt for the next One Direction.

Believing he could be the next Simon Cowell, deluded Cartmill even sat on the judging panels along with close friend and ex-Citybeat DJ Robin Elliott, who accompanied him to court on one occasion.

Since his first swindling conviction in 2009 Jay Cartmill has tried to steal more than £500,000 from his many victims, who now include TV presenters Eamonn Holmes and Stephen Nolan.

After his guilty pleas to 66 new charges last Thursday he has almost 100 frauds raps on his criminal record.

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