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18 July 2012, 10:43
A fraudster who conned children in Northamptonshire into thinking they might perform at the Olympic Closing Ceremony has been jailed for two years.
Stephen Moonesamy, 35, (right) also defrauded dance schools and potential sponsors by claiming he could arrange for young dancers to take part in the ceremony in August 2012.
Moonesamy, from Lowlands Close, Northampton, pleaded guilty to eight counts of fraud by false representation.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police's Operation Podium, supported by Northamptonshire Police, started an investigation on 1 May 2012 into an offer to dance schools in the Northamptonshire area for their pupils to participate in the London 2012 closing ceremony.
Officers also investigated approaches to a number of companies across the UK to provide sponsorship.
Moonesamy was arrested three days later. A 31-year-old woman was also arrested, but she has since been released without further action.
The investigation was started after a referral was made to the police by the Olympic organisers, LOCOG, who confirmed that the company run by Moonesamy was not in any way associated with the Olympic or Paralympic Games.
Moonesamy approached three dance schools in the guise of 'The Red, White and Blue Project', claiming that he was recruiting young people, between the ages of 9 and 18 years, to dance at the closing ceremony.
He went on to hold a presentation at the Holiday Inn hotel in Northampton on 11 March 2012, where he described in great detail the event that the dancers would experience, including details of costumes, travel arrangements and the proposed security plan.
He also approached the local council for funding and obtained free food and drink from the Holiday Inn in Northampton at the above event. A local printing company supplied merchandise to Moonesamy and a number of clothing companies were approached with requests for kit.
Detective Superintendent Nick Downing, of Operation Podium, said: "Stephen Moonesamy is an individual who callously deceived around 75 youngsters from the Northampton dance community, promising them a place performing at the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games. We are still are unclear what his ultimate motive was, as the financial gain was minimal.
"Children as young as nine were left devastated by the actions of this man, whose fraudulent plan could never succeed. We have worked closely with officers from Northamptonshire Police and the dance schools to provide support to the dancers and their families."