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Tempting offer from fraudster turned author

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Melanie Abbott | 13:40 PM, Wednesday, 5 May 2010

By Melanie Abbott
graham_templeton.jpgI've had a few interesting job offers in my time. But I've just received the first from a convicted fraudster who featured as part of the You and Yours' investigative strand Face the Facts.

Graham Templeton, who defrauded nearly two million euros from ex-pats living in the Dordogne, wants me to help him promote a book he is writing about the case.

In January we featured his activities as a financial advisor. He persuaded people who had retired to the Dordogne to invest money in a bond issued by Societe Generale. But a loop hole in French banking law meant he was able to pay the money into his own bank account simply by countersigning the cheques on the back. This practice was stopped in the UK in 2006 but still goes on in France.

One couple handed Templeton more than half a million pounds via a series of cheques. Another, who had sold a business to retire to France, gave him £450,000. After losing that money, they had to sell their house in France and are now living in a caravan.

Despite being convicted of the fraud Graham Templeton was allowed to go free because French prisons are overcrowded. But he has now been arrested and is serving his 20 month sentence in jail in Fresnes in France.

Last week I received a letter from him suggesting I might like to deal with him exclusively to promote his book. If it is published he says the money will go towards paying back his victims and writes that; "After reading the dull books of Archer I am sure it could be quite a good long haul read with interesting facts about prison life in France."

This letter follows an earlier missive in quite a different tone accusing me of harassing his family and "telling lies and ruining lives". I wrote back explaining I had not approached his family and that's when I received the offer.

Tempting as it is BBC editorial Guidelines say that relationships with an individual or organisations outside of the BBC must not compromise editorial impartiality and integrity, that our choice of partners won't bring the BBC into disrepute and that we don't promote or appear to endorse other organisations, products, services, views or opinions.

Somehow I don't think the controller of editorial policy will green light this particular opportunity.

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