'Sir Robert' disappears with victim's $2m

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The Independent Online

A German millionaire could not believe his good fortune when he was introduced to an investment guru with a knighthood and a sure-fire scheme to double his money in a month.

The 38-year-old, who owns a construction company, was so impressed by Sir Robert Scott Macmillan's title, his estate in Scotland and his business contacts that he handed over his personal fortune of $2m (£1.4m). But soon after the German businessman wired the money to a bank account in London he learned that the scheme was too good to be true.

Scotland Yard fraud squad officers yesterday issued a photograph and details of Robert Scott Macmillan, who has disappeared along with the $2m. They also revealed that the man claiming to be Macmillan does not have a title, an estate in Scotland or a real plan to double your money within 30 days.

The red-faced German, who does not want to be named for fear of ridicule and financial ruin, says the sting wiped out his savings. The scam is even more extraordinary because the German never meet the fraudster. The deal was done by telephone, fax and e-mails.

He was introduced to him via a London-based financial consultant – whom the police believe has bogus qualifications – who in turn was recommended by a "friend" he had met in Germany a year ago.

Macmillan told his victim about a special scheme that was only for people with a large amount of money to invest and was based on the US Federal Reserve and emerging markets. He promised to double his money within 20 to 30 days. He maintained an image of wealth by using forwarding addresses at a country estate in Ayr in Scotland and Aylesbury in Oxfordshire.

Detective Constable Kevin Williams, of the Metropolitan Police fraud squad, said: "The victim handed the money over largely because he was told that he had been knighted by the Queen and could therefore be trusted. His entire personal wealth has been wiped out."

Macmillan is now believed to be living somewhere in the United Kingdom, although police fear he may have fled abroad. He was described as white, in his early forties and about six feet tall. He has fair to mousy receding hair and a goatee beard. He wears glasses, speaks with an American accent and drives a dark-blue convertible BMW Alpina.