Man is jailed for ‘Hollywood’ con

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A FINNINGHAM man, who posed as a successful Hollywood filmmaker to con two aspiring screen writers out of £121,000, has been jailed for three and a half years.

Richard Maskery, 42, claimed he was a protégé of legendary director Stanley Kubrick and was involved in producing Tom Cruise films, including Mission Impossible.

He convinced the screen writers he was negotiating with stars and leading Hollywood directors and extracted nearly £55,000 of their savings to finance the project.

As a result, friends of the Battersea-based writers invested nearly £54,000 and another £12,000 cash was lost in a book publishing deal associated with the Shadows of Blood film.

Maskery, of Westhorpe Road, pleaded guilty to dishonestly, with intent to make a gain, falsely representing being involved in the production of the film Shadows of Blood between August 1, 2009, and February 28 last year.

At Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court last week, Judge Paul Dodgson told Maskery: “This was an elaborate and sophisticated fraud.”

In September 2006 Maskery was jailed for 18 months for a string of frauds during which he posed as a successful Hollywood movie producer.

Prosecuting, Rory Keane said an accomplice of Maskery, who is currently on the run, befriended the writers at a party and told them he had the contacts to turn their script into a film.

By chance, the accomplice was snapped by paparazzi ouside a Soho club walking behind Clint Eastwood, lending credibility to the swindle.

In mitigation, Maria Dineen said Maskery was ‘determined to rehabilitate’ after being released from prison in 2007 but found securing employment hard, getting sacked when his managing director discovered his background.

She said: “From then, Mr Maskery spiralled downwards and he and his partner incurred significant debts.”

“It was while in this frame of mind he was approached by his co-defendant, who he had met in prison, and desperate for work and money foolishly lent himself to the enterprise,” she added.