Celebrity lawyer tricked Chris Tarrant and jockey Richard Dunwoody into backing bid for OBE in 2.8m fraud
Daily Mail Reporter
02:25 GMT, 9 February 2013
02:26 GMT, 9 February 2013
Close: Nathan Iyer, who dated Michael Caine's daughter Natasha (left), duped celebrities into supporting his application for an OBE in a 2.8m fraud
A celebrity lawyer tricked Chris Tarrant and jockey Richard Dunwoody into supporting his application for an OBE as he carried out a 2.8million fraud.
Nathan Iyer, 47, who once dated the daughters of Sir Michael Caine and Sir Bobby Moore, pretended he had raised a fortune for Cancer Research UK.
He persuaded Tarrant and Dunwoody to sign a letter he had written recommending him for the OBE. He also forged letters of support from a judge and officials within Cancer Research UK.
At the same time he was enjoying a life of luxury from the proceeds of his fraud, driving sports cars, racing a yacht and buying expensive homes in Hampshire and London.
His 12-year con began when he was entertaining wealthy clients and could not afford to match their extravagant lifestyles.
Iyer started to slip extra items in his clients’ bills from three bogus companies. He would then funnel the money into his own accounts.
Using the cash from hundreds of fraudulent invoices he spent more than 600,000 landscaping and building a swimming pool.
The high-flying lawyer bought a top-of-the-range Porsche and a racing yacht worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, the Old Bailey heard.
Iyer, who was paid 568,000 a year by Ince & Co, managed to obtain more than 2million before he was caught in July 2010.
He told police: ‘I just helped myself. The option was there and so I just took it. Greed, familiarity and the ease with which it could be done just took over.’
The lawyer said he was ‘living at the edge and a little beyond’ but claimed he was ‘gobsmacked’ when he was told the total amount of money he had taken.
Detectives investigating the case soon discovered Iyer had also plotted to win himself an OBE by pretending to be one the country’s most generous supporters of Cancer Research.
He told people he regularly organised yachting activities for cancer sufferers. He also claimed to have written a best-selling novel and donated the proceeds to charity.
The lawyer even forged a supportive letter from a ficititious neighbour who he said was fighting the disease.
Duped: Iyer persuaded Chris Tarrant (left) and jockey Richard Dunwoody (right) to sign a letter he had written recommending him for the OBE
He told Tarrant and Dunwoody, who had no idea that his glowing testimonials were forged, that he was ‘embarrassed’ to be up for the honour.
Iyer would later try to say he was only trying to win the award to expose how easily the British honours system could be abused. But when his first attempt to win the OBE failed in 2004, he tried again four years later.
Iyer, who once had a relationship with Sir Michael Caine’s daughter Natasha, was married to fellow lawyer Milena Augusta Zoccarato, the mother of his three-year-old son.
The couple are now divorced and Iyer has been made bankrupt. He has sold everything he owns and managed to pay back around 2.1million.
Iyer can no longer practise law after being stuck off last year for what was described as one of the worst cases of fraud ever to come before the solicitors disciplinary tribunal.
Reduced to working as a labourer in Lymington boat yards, he currently makes 250 a week – half of what he used to make an hour.
Iyer, of Bednal Road, Acton Trussell, Staffordshire, admitted one charge of false accounting and two of making use of a false instrument.
Jailing him for four years and eight months, Mr Recorder Christopher Wilson said: ‘You made a concerted effort to obtain the award. Your actions were a gross abuse of the honours system.’
The judge added: ‘It is a dismal end to a fine career.’