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Saturday 17 November 2018

Bogus 'Baron of Killan' is a convicted fraudster

Tom Lyons and John Walshe DESMOND Fleming, a Sligo-based fake baron who is selling bogus degrees to Iran, has also been convicted of embezzlement.

Mr Fleming, who calls himself vice chancellor of the Dublin Metropolitan University, has doled out his bogus qualifications as far afield as Burma, Singapore and Iran since 1998.

But in reality court documents show a professor of psychology has concluded he is a "pathological liar".

Over a period of years in the 1980s, using forged documents and his knowledge of the law as a court clerk, he conned an ordinary Sligo family out of their savings and put them through a horrendous experience.

Court documents reveal that Mr Fleming was charged between November 1981 and May 1, 1984 with stealing IR£10,000 from a Sligo camera shop owner called Philip McCaffrey.

Mr McCaffrey, was recovering from a horrific car accident in which three people died, when Mr Fleming promised he would look after his business.

'Accountant'

Mr Fleming, produced documents from a London University to convince Mr McCaffrey he was a qualified accountant.

Once he had his hands on the business Mr Fleming ran up huge debts and used false sets of accounts to hide these losses.

He forged High Court documents, rulings by judges, letters from the Inspector of Taxes in Sligo and the Collector General to maintain this elaborate lie.

However he was caught out when Philip McCaffrey one day realised that Mr Fleming had claimed to be representing his father in court in Limerick on a day when the courts were closed for business.

A subsequent visit by local gardai to Mr Fleming's home in Griannan, Coolbeg, Drumcliffe, Co Sligo - where he now runs his dodgy education 'empire' - revealed stacks of forged documents.

Ordeal

Most of these were found inside a book entitled 'The Right Hon Desmond Fleming, Judge of the High Court, QC, SC.'

Judge O'Malley imposed a two-year prison sentence on each count to run concurrently but suspended his sentence for two years.

It has taken the McCaffrey family years to recover from their ordeal at the hands of Fleming.

But 20 years on Mr Fleming also appears to have bounced back with his creation, the 'Dublin Metropolitan University'.

By billing itself as a university, it is in breach of the 1997 Universities Act, and the Department of Education here is seeking to de-register it from the Companies Office.

He has also given himself a sham title of "Baron of Killan" to make himself appear important abroad.

The leading expert in this area, Hugh Prescott, an editor with Burke's Peerage, said: "Unequivocally and without a shadow of doubt he is not a baronet and he is not a hereditary baron."

And he is also fraudulently claiming to be a suitable candidate to approve qualifications in Iran by being licensed by the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology there.

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