MI6 spy impersonator and one of Britain's most wanted fugitives arrested after a 2-year manhunt
Acklom, who faces criminal proceedings for at least 20 fraud offenses in Britain, is currently in custody awaiting extradition, he was caught as he tried to jump off a balcony.
Mark Acklom, one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, was arrested on Tuesday in Zurich, Switzerland at a luxury apartment. Police officials apprehended the fraudster after he attempted to flee by jumping off a balcony, according to reports. The National Crime Agency (NCA) on Tuesday said that Acklom was caught at a luxury apartment in Wadenswil, where he had been living under a false name for over two years, while he was on the run from authorities. He was tackled to the ground by officers, according to the Daily Mail.
The head of International Operations for the NCA, Ian Cruxton, said: "The hunt for conman Mark Acklom started in Spain but as soon as intelligence indicated he had moved to Switzerland, we utilized our assets there and worked closely with the Swiss authorities and Avon & Somerset Police to track 'him down."
"I suspect a fraudster like Acklom will have continued offending while on the run, which is why it was so important to apprehend him. We are committed to protecting UK citizens from criminals who seek to exploit them and, likewise, we are equally committed to protecting citizens in other countries.," the head added.
The 45-year-old Acklom is reportedly accused of fleecing a woman of £850,000 in life savings after he posed as an MI6 agent and involved her in a romance scam. Acklom, who faces criminal proceedings for at least 20 fraud offenses in Britain, is currently in custody awaiting extradition. He would soon be produced before a court in Britain. The European arrest warrant is not recognized in non-EU Switzerland and so Acklom will be dealt with under an existing extradition treaty. Reports state that a European Arrest Warrant was issued for Ackolim two years ago, in June 2016, and he was believed to have been hiding in Spain. He was released in 2016 from a Spanish prison after he was detained over a £200,000 property fraud.
Acklom, in May 2017, was spotted in Geneva and authorities believed that he was living in Switzerland with his wife Mari Yolanda Ros Rodriguez and his two daughters.
Sky News detailed how the hunt for Acklom had been focused on the Zurich area from where it's believed he had been trying to attract investors for his various companies. One business claimed to be manufacturing computer chips for black-box data recorders for cars. The company's website suggested it had customers from the luxury car industry. Undercover police had unsuccessfully tried to nab him at a bank when they were tipped off that he would be coming there to meet the staff, but he did not appear.
Authorities believed that his 47-year-old wife, Maria, was working as a yoga teacher in Geneva and was using aliases including Yolianda Ross, Maria Long and Mary Moss.
According to reports, Acklom's wife and his two girls, aged six and eight, are still in Switzerland as he awaits extradition. Ackom is also believed to have changed his name to Mack Long in an attempt to obtain a passport and a Swiss residency permit. The 45-year-old is accused of duping Carolyn Woods of Bath into handing him a huge amount of money after tricking her into a relationship for at least a year. Reports state that Acklom posed as an MI6 agent and used his "confidence and charisma" to influence her to loan him cash multiple times.
Woods, after Acklom's apprehension, said: "It's been more than five years since I tried to report him. Obviously, I'm delighted that he's been arrested. I'm hoping that he will be extradited and brought to trial in the UK. When I discovered his true identity, the day before I reported him, I learnt he was married with children. I'm delighted he's been found and arrested and I'm hoping that justice will be served eventually." Authorities launched an investigation against Acklom when Woods reported to police that he posed as a Swiss banker and fleeced £850,000 off her.
Woods said that Acklom told her he was borrowing the money for renovation work at properties in Bath, Somerset, reports state.
Woods and Acklom became a couple in 2012 when he visited the boutique where she worked. He reportedly told her that he was a Swiss banker and often took her to Harrods on shopping trips. He also convinced her to move into a house he claimed he owned in The Circus, in Bath. He also reportedly told her that there were people around who wanted him dead and then after a while he vanished, claiming to be working undercover in Syria.
It was later reported that Acklom was spotted in Geneva with another fugitive wanted by Spanish officials for defrauding government departments. Acklom life of con had started young, he is believed to have first been in custody at the age of 16, in 1991, when he received a four-year sentence for a £466,000 mortgage fraud after he posed as a City stockbroker. He also spent £11,000 after stealing his father's credit card, swindled a former teacher out of £13,000 and ran up a £34,000 bill with a private charter jet company.