Seville Conman Who Posed As a Priest Jailed

SEVILLE conman who posed as a priest jailed by court in Cadiz.

A court in Cadiz province has jailed a Seville con man who posed as a philanthropic priest to steal 175 thousand euro from three victims.

Manuel Tobaja Villegas concocted an elaborate backstory that he was a priest, ordained in Puerto Rico, who ran a prisoner rehabilitation charity called ‘Luz del Mundo’ (Light of the World). He also claimed to be the author of a successful memoir about his time in a Latin American prison to which he said Benecio Del Toro had paid 11.3 million euro to purchase the film rights.

The court heard that Villegas posed as an ‘admirable person, a wealthy and self-sacrificing philanthropist’ against his victims who were a married couple and the husband’s sister. He brought them to Seville where he showed them a large building he claimed was his foundation’s headquarters and introduced them to his alleged accomplice who acted as his charity’s vice-director. Santiago M.G was acquitted due to the lack of evidence against him,

The victims remortgaged their homes to donate to Villegas’ fictional cause, to the value of 90 and 85 thousand euro respectively. He promised financial remuneration within months, and prosecutors say the con man ‘knew how to stimulate the economic ambitions of the three victims’. He has also been connected to a similar crime in Seville.

He was found guilty of aggravated fraud and sentenced to six years in prison, alongside an order to pay nearly 23,000 euros in fines and full compensation to his victims.


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Written by

Oisin Sweeney

Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...

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