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A 36-year old Dutch man conned thousands of pounds out of show jumpers and horse riding fans by claiming to be the son of a big boss at IBM.

George Carlo Schouten of Finchampstead, Berkshire said his old man was helping out by sponsoring his show jumping team, a Reading court heard yesterday.

He convinced one of Britain's best female riders to join the fictional team and persuaded others to spend thousands of pounds on providing IBM-branded clothes and other kit for the team.

In fact he had no connection to IBM and was, in the words of the Telegraph, "nothing more than a stable hand with previous convictions for fraud".

Schouten conned another man out of £30,000, which he claimed would be invested in a chip company and guaranteed a return within 16 weeks.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud. He used the £50,000 he scammed to fund his playboy lifestyle - hiring cars and a big house in Berkshire. He will be sentenced next month - the judge warned that a prison term was likely.

His defending barrister said he wished to repay the money and was currently working as a labourer in a stables in Sussex for £360 a day. ®

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