Self-declared Guru jailed for swindling French aristocrats

A self-styled guru has been sentenced to eight years in prison for cheating three generations of an aristocratic French family out of their fortune by making them believe they were under threat from a secret masonic plot.

Thierry Tilly convinced 11 members of the De Vedrines family to barricade themselves into their turreted manor house, Château Martel near Monflanquin, a medieval village in the Lot-et-Garonne in south-west France.

In what the court described as a “machiavellian plot”, he tricked them into handing over up to 4.5 million euros, and eventually made the family flee to Oxford, persuading them he was a former secret services agent and there was a plot against their lives. The family members, aged 16 to 89, described being in his sway for around nine years until 2009.

Tilly, 48, who met the family when he worked as an administrator at a school run by one of the De Vedrines sisters, was convicted of psychological abuse and deprivation of civil rights.

His accomplice, Jacques Gonzalez was sentenced to four years in prison.

I’m hard-pressed to come up with more than a modicum of sympathy for the gullible holders of inherited wealth. There are beaucoup private banks ready and willing to aid them in managing their money – starting with HSBC which is #1 as I recall. Inheriting lots of buck$ brings with it a responsibility to manage affairs for yourself and your family – or, don’t be a cheapskate, hire someone capable.

If you are hustled by some creepy con artist? What? Did you think you weren’t a target?

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