The 56-year-old was arrested in the summer of 2022, at which time he was in a relationship with two women who knew nothing about each other. He lived with one of them in a luxurious penthouse apartment; when she was out of the house, he received the other in the apartment and cooked for their guests.
The man had been in a relationship with the one partner he met through a dating site since October 2018. The 55-year-old told a panel of lay judges (chaired by Christina Salzborn) that he had played the role of a busy and wealthy businessman abroad who owned property in Greece: “I didn’t know that he was a professional fraudster.” It was only afterwards that she realized that the garage space for their shared apartment was at her expense, even though she doesn’t have a car or even a driver’s license, that he had bilked her parents for money and had taken out a loan in her name and with a forged signature The amount was 25,000 euros. “He did it cleverly,” said the witness, “that’s what’s fascinating about him. He can screw you up so much that you don’t notice.”
He also met his second partner on a dating exchange. The 51-year-old fell in love with the eloquent, charming man in his mid-fifties in January 2021. He explains to her that he earns 20,000 euros a month and has no worries because he inherited 50 million. When the divorced woman’s son wanted to do an internship, he got the boy an apartment in Vienna – the monthly rent was 2,280 euros. The rent was never paid. This deceived woman reported that the defendant often had no time for her: “He talked about business trips, a knee operation, an illness. Once his biological father died, later his stepmother.”
After his arrest, the 56-year-old wrote letters to both women from prison in which he expressed his affection for each of them. He tried to persuade one of them to make a “fresh start,” and he called the other his “lifer,” with whom he wanted to “try it again” after his release from prison.
The man, who has several previous convictions, is accused of serious commercial fraud with damages of over 670,000 euros, breach of trust and several offenses under the Financial Crimes Act. He had already made a full confession at the start of the trial at the end of July, but he maintained this responsibility: “It was a lie. I always wanted to be more than myself.” The urge to pretend to be a wealthy bon vivant “certainly has something to do with my origins. My father was Greek.” The fact that he had a relationship with several women at the same time was “for hunting reasons, to distract myself.”
He not only swindled money from another affected person – a trade delegate at an embassy in Vienna who was with her from 2012 to 2016 – by pretending to cover medical costs for brain tumor treatment or a sudden financial bottleneck. He also forged their signatures, entered into credit card contracts in their names, intercepted the cards and used them himself.
“I looked for women and yes, I tried to get money through them. I now know that that is terrible and disgusting,” the defendant admitted. The verdict is due to be announced in the early afternoon.