A cabaret-singing conman who flouted a company director ban by helping to set up a posh nosh business has been jailed for more than four years.

But Simon Levy wasn’t at Oxford Crown Court to hear Judge Michael Gledhill QC brand him a ‘fraudster and a conman’ – as the 56-year-old had skipped his bail in January and been on the run ever since.

Jurors took two hours to convict Levy, of Charlwood Close, Harrow, of breaching a serious crime prevention order and contravening an order disqualifying him from acting as a company director.

Those orders, imposed after he was jailed in Oxford for three years in 2013 for running a luxury goods business under an alias and despite being an undischarged bankrupt, banned him from taking on the role of a company director, stopped him from having accounts with more than one bank or using multiple names, and required him to explain spending of more than £200.

Detectives found out that the fraudster had been helping banker Tiffany Plant, 30, set up food business Come Fry With Me. 

The quirky takeaway sold exotically-topped chips and earned coverage in the Daily Mail and Metro in 2015 when the business planned to open a restaurant in Covent Garden.

When police raided Levy’s mum’s home in Harrow, London, in July 2016 they found a wallet containing cards for accounts with Capital One, Metro Bank, MBNA and Barclaycard.

The leather Mont Blanc wallet was stuffed with receipts showing he’d bought meals at swanky restaurant Burger and Lobster, Mayfair, and celebrity favourite Harry Morgan restaurant in St Johns Wood. The bills – usually between £30 and £40 – were paid using credit cards he shouldn’t have had under the terms of his serious crime prevention order.

When the police demanded details about his expenditure, accounts and business associates, Levy was evasive – although it also emerged during the trial that his offender manager had the wrong copy of his serious crime prevention order.

Oxford Mail:

During a lengthy police interview he admitted that he ‘might have breached’ the provisions of his serious crime prevention order – but claimed it ‘wasn’t deliberate’.

He denied acting as a director of Come Fry With Me, claiming he was paid ‘around £12,000’ by Ms Plant as a branding consultant. His other income came from cabaret work in London and an advance on a book, he claimed.

When Come Fry With Me was placed into liquidation by Ms Plant in 2016, Levy was the one who contacted the liquidation experts.

Kevin Lucas of the accountancy firm appointed to handle the process, who knew Levy under the name David Michaels, said in a witness statement: “It was clear to me that Mr Michaels knew plenty about the day to day running of the company and I would...say more than Ms Plant.”

After Come Fry With Me was put into administration, creditors began sending ‘proof of debt’ forms with invoices addressed to ‘David Michaels’ that showed money owed amounting to more than £70,000.

On Friday, the court heard that Levy’s long record for fraud began in 1983. The conman had received jail time in the UK and in Las Vegas, US.

Jailing him in his absence for four years and four months, Judge Gledhill said: “This is a man with a string of serious offences of dishonesty. He is a fraudster and a conman. He’s been appearing before the courts as we’ve just heard from 1983.”

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