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Fraud suspect to ill to be extradited

PUBLISHED: 08:56 09 January 2008 | UPDATED: 11:26 12 December 2011

AN ALLEGED fraudster accused of fleeing to Europe to escape the FBI yesterday avoided extradition to the US because he is too ill to leave Norfolk.

Old Harrovian Alan Shephard is accused of an 'advance-fee' fraud worth $18m after allegedly conning a string of victims into handing over cash to his Virginia-based firm Puffin Investments while pocketing the proceeds.

AN ALLEGED fraudster accused of fleeing to Europe to escape the FBI yesterday avoided extradition to the US because he is too ill to leave Norfolk.

Old Harrovian Alan Shephard is accused of an 'advance-fee' fraud worth $18m after allegedly conning a string of victims into handing over cash to his Virginia-based firm Puffin Investments while pocketing the proceeds.

The 70-year-old, who now lives in High Street, Stalham, will not stand trial because he is suffering from cerebrovascular disease, which is slowing destroying his brain causing loss of intellect, memory and balance.

An earlier hearing was rescheduled eight times before Shephard produced a sick note. A High Court judge branded him “unscrupulous” and described the note as his latest ploy to avoid justice.

But two doctors' reports submitted to the proceedings appeared to corroborate his claims of ill-health. One medic said he would not be able to comprehend legal proceedings.

Yesterday Clair Dobbin, for the US authorities, argued that it was for the US courts to decide his fitness to plead. But district judge Daphne Wickham, sitting at City of Westminster Magistrates, concluded it would be “unfair and unjust” to return him. She added: “Accordingly I order the discharge of the defendant.”

The charges centre around claims that up-front fees were taken from victims on the promise of massive returns which were allegedly not repaid.

Shepherd is the former vice president of the Royal Windsor Horse Show and is thought to have links with senior members of the Conservative party.

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