Olympic fraudster jailed for deceiving children
LONDON — A man who deceived 75 children in Britain by promising them the opportunity to take part in the closing ceremony of the London Olympic Games has been jailed for two years.
“Children as young as nine were left devastated by the actions of this man, whose fraudulent plan could never succeed,” police said in a statement.
Stephen Moonesamy, 35, was arrested after approaching three dance schools in the central city of Northampton and recruiting children between the ages of 9 and 18 to perform at the closing ceremony on Aug. 12.
Prosecutors said he charged each child for taking part and built up an elaborate operation by training the dancers, securing equipment and gaining sponsorship from local companies.
“His project was pure fantasy — based on a lie that grew larger and larger over time, which he added to by his repeated fraudulent actions,” the Crown Prosecution Service said. “However, he does not appear to have made a large personal gain from his web of lies.”
Although his motive was unknown, the BBC reports that Judge Sylvia De Bertodano sentenced Moonesamy to two years in prison after commenting that he had "dashed more hopes than Simon Cowell".