Fake laird and clan chief jailed for £1.6 million fraud in US

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A man who posed as a Scottish laird and clan chief to con investors in a £1.6 million US-based fraud has been jailed for four years.

Colin Chisholm, described as “living in a fantasy world” by genuine clan leaders, used his fake persona to persuade investors to put money in a bogus satellite TV network.

He persuaded 38 investors to plough a total of £1.6m into the scheme but then stole the money to support his lavish lifestyle.

Chisholm, 65, owned a £1m luxury yacht and lived with his wife “Lady” Andrea in a lakeside mansion. He also owned a beach-side home in Florida and had £2m in bank accounts.

He pleaded guilty to mail fraud in January and was jailed by US District Judge John Tunheim for four years at a court in Minnesota. He was also ordered to repay the money to his victims.

The court heard that since 2004, Chisholm used the Caribbean Television Network to solicit funds from investors.

Chisholm also claimed to be chieftain of the Clan Chisholm and claimed to have close personal ties to members of the Bush family. He also told investors that he participated in the development and launch of CNN and CNN Headline News, including writing the business plan for CNN

Chisholm, who called himself Colin Chisholm III of Struy and insisted on being addressed as Lord, was previously sentenced to 21 months in prison in 2015 over a welfare benefits fraud which he conducted with his wife.

Over a seven-year period the fraudulent couple systematically claimed up to £150,000 in benefits including medical aid and food stamps.

The couple’s elaborate deception began unravelling as investigators closed in.

The pair fled the Bahamas where they were staying and headed for America with their seven-year-old son and their pet dog.

When they arrived in the States, they applied for more than a dozen forms of medical assistance, welfare payments and food stamps, first in Minnesota and then in Florida.

Speaking previously about Chisholm’s aristocrat claims, Duncan Chisholm, a past president of the Clan Chisholm Society and kilt-maker in Inverness, said: “Colin does not have any title or claim to be Lord Chisholm nor indeed does any such title exist.”We wrote to him asking him not to use the bogus title.