Convicted fraudster from Gwynedd confronted in Portugal

By Iolo ap Dafydd
BBC Wales

  • Published

A convicted fraudster from Wales has been confronted in Portugal about his latest alleged crimes.

Kenner Elias Jones has been accused of taking thousands of pounds off locals and small businesses in Lisbon and the nearby town of Palmela.

Known as Ken Jones, he has been convicted more than 60 times, and has been deported from Canada and the United States.

BBC Wales' Week In Week Out programme followed him to the Portuguese capital.

Earlier this year he cheated a local travel agent in Palmela. He persuaded Paula Silva to hand over travel tickets worth €2,500 (£2,160) before disappearing without paying for them.

Ms Silva said: "He came to see me and said that he wanted three tickets for his wife and two children to travel from Uganda to Lisbon, because he had seen a house and a school here, and said that he wanted to live in Palmela."

Lisbon-based architect Francisco Guedes de Carvalho was also deceived by Jones.

Jones, originally from Caernarfon, Gwynedd, introduced himself as "Kenner Ngeiwo Hawkins" and attempted to rent a flat from Mr Carvalho before the architect became suspicious.

"I trusted him immediately during our first meeting," said Mr de Carvalho.

"After the meeting I was thinking that something didn't make sense, and so I started investigating him on the internet - and I realised that he didn't exist."

Jones's criminal career spans four decades.

In 1975 at the Old Bailey he was jailed for three years for committing theft and forgery, and later received a 15-month prison sentence at Coventry Crown Court for obtaining money by deception in 1980.

At Merthyr Crown Court in 1996, he received an 18-month sentence for deception and fraud, but his crimes continued.

He has defrauded dozens of individuals, but his favourite targets seem to be charities and religious institutions.

Image caption,
Travel agent Paula Silva said she handed tickets to Jones

Tell tale signs

Last year, Jones was investigated by the Taro Naw programme, produced by BBC Wales for S4C, after he posed as a doctor in Kenya for seven years without any medical qualifications.

He has also claimed to be a priest, despite not being ordained. He's left debts of more than a $100,000 in Kenya when he returned to Europe, and there is a warrant for his arrest.

Kenner Elias Jones was born in Caernarfon in 1951. According to a former colleague at school, Kevin Doughty, there were certain tell tale signs that Jones would follow a criminal career from an early age.

Mr Doughty said: "I don't think that anyone could predict that outcome with any degree of certainty, but there were lots of indicators there that said that he wanted more than he could otherwise achieve."

In 2003, Jones absconded from Lewes Crown Court as he was about to stand trial accused of stealing thousands of pounds from an employer, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

According to Sussex Police, that warrant is still active, and if Jones is arrested again in Europe they will consult the Crown Prosecution Service about whether to pursue an extradition order.

Week In Week Out - Ken Jones: A Welsh Fraud Abroad is broadcast at 2235 BST on Tuesday on BBC 1 Wales.

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