A CONMAN who stole thousands of pounds from Trowbridge businesseses and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle has been found guilty of theft and money laundering involving £1.4 million.

Simon Gold ran several estate agency businesses registered at Parade House in Trowbridge. Among local firms he defrauded by bouncing cheques was DW Money in Roundstone Street..

The 54-year-old moved to Ireland, where he has now been convicted.

Dave Wyatt, owner of DW Money said: “He came in to cash a cheque for £300 and it bounced, after which he didn’t want to speak to us.

“He kept saying he would sort it but he never did, and the next thing we know they had left.

“He tried this a few times with other people with slightly different company names on the cheques, one called Gold, one called GCP, one called Gold Commerce and address in Shepton Mallet, Trowbridge, Crewkerne and Clifton.

“I was warned about this afterwards and someone told me to be careful, but I had lost my money.

“It is always a relief to hear when someone has been convicted to stop it happening to more people, and it also sends out a message that you can’t get away with it.”

The Times understands that other businesses in Trowbridge which lost money to Gold face losses running into five figures.

On Monday Gold appeared in court in Dublin and was found guilty of 20 counts after a jury had deliberated for over 12 hours.

He had pleaded not guilty to 22 charges including money laundering, theft, deception and control of false instruments between January 1, 2010 and October 22, 2012. He was found not guilty of one count of deception after a hearing which lasted over a fortnight.

The Irish Sun reported the trial heard Gold, who lived near Crewkerne in Somerset, put himself forward as a highly qualified financier, merchant banker and financial consultant.

They went on to report from court that it was the State’s case that four Irish men who were unable to secure bank loans approached Gold seeking loans of large sums of money.

Lorcan Staines SC, prosecuting, told the jury in 2011 these men were deceived into transferring what they believed were down payments into bank accounts controlled by Gold.

The men gave evidence of transferring a total of €28,000 and £50,000 into accounts linked to Gold. None of the loans ever came through for them.

The jury were told Kurt Lauridsen, a Danish businessman, said he transferred two tranches of €800,000 in October, 2012, into what he thought was a bank account controlled by himself and his lawyer, but was in fact an Ulster Bank account in Dublin controlled by Gold.

He said he was later contacted by police and informed that the account had been frozen.

In an interview with police, Gold agreed he had dispersed some of the funds into various accounts, including into an account in the name of Niall O’Donoghue.

The jury heard that Gold accepted he used the names Simon Gold, Simon Gould, Simon Magnier and Niall O’Donoghue and acknowledged he is responsible for an Ulster Bank account in the name of Anglo Irish Global Ltd.

He will be sentence on July 31.