the mad headlong rush of the “Bonnie and Clyde” from the castles | EUROtoday

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IThey arrived one morning in March 2022, on the wheel of a model new Audi Q7, within the courtyard of the Château de Sauvage, situated in Émancé (Yvelines), on the borders of Eure-et-Loir. The squealing of tires causes a cloud of mud. A person will get out of the highly effective SUV. Broad shoulders, shaved head, lengthy grey druid beard, he’s 48 years previous.

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Delighted, Marcel Lacour, entrepreneur. His spouse, with purple, bobbed hair, says she is an agent of the Ministry of the Interior. Policewoman, extra exactly. Marcel is the boss of a revolutionary UK-based firm that invented 'bottom-filling plastic beer cups'. For the Château d'Émancé, they’ve plenty of tasks: a catering space, the upkeep of untamed animals… their son, a 13-year-old teenager, will dwell with them.

What a really perfect household, mentioned the 75-year-old German aristocrat and proprietor of the citadel. After fifty years of dwelling in Émancé, she has been desperately in search of a purchaser because the loss of life of her husband in 2018.

READ ALSO “How a fake bank advisor stole almost 6,000 euros from me” The couple falls into place. It guarantees a really quick switch. However, the proprietor is not going to see any transfers. Michael Bertrand and Céline Lacour, their actual names, lived on the citadel for 5 months with out ever paying something. They had been sentenced this Thursday by the Versailles Criminal Court for fraud, fraudulent maneuvers and harm. Michael Bertrand obtained 4 years in jail, 18 months for his spouse, Céline Lacour.

They are launching main work, in a citadel that doesn’t belong to them

The couple was to purchase the Château d'Émancé for 9.5 million euros. Taking benefit of the absence of the proprietor, who has gone to Berlin, and due to the chicanery of Michael Bertrand, they take up residence with out having paid a cent. The agrefin, formally a sound engineer, spends his days in a small workplace lounging round and making ready for the following shot. His spouse leaves early within the morning to hitch a social service of the Primary Health Insurance Fund, her actual job, and offers for the household's wants alone. In the opinion of the citadel guards, Michael Bertrand is “cool”. The simple familiarity, he instantly acquired on board with the workers.

It is similar with staff. Because Michael Bertrand in a short time started work in a citadel that didn’t belong to him. First step: manage a website assembly to construct confidence amongst service suppliers. Under his orders, the caretaker's home was first demolished. Then iron fences are positioned on the gate to hinder the view.

At his request, the employees took down the curtains, unsealed a fire, sanded the interval woodwork, and ripped out the tiles, leaving the ground naked. A rampage for which none of them will likely be paid, clearly. “He owes me 7,000 euros,” claims a younger employee on the listening to this Thursday. Because of this unpaid debt, I’m unable to get by financially. »

Pink flamingos and kangaroos

The whole harm from this harm is estimated between 72,000 and 95,000 euros. They value 20,000 euros of labor. For what ? Mystery, however the couple “regrets”. The sale of the citadel is accompanied by the acquisition of untamed animals within the park (pink flamingos, unique birds and kangaroos, particularly) for 500,000 euros, in addition to the restoration of furnishings for 600,000 euros. Here once more, nothing will likely be resolved. That doesn't cease “Bonnie and Clyde” from promoting the furnishings on the sly. A hound is stationed in entrance of a lean-to the place probably the most lovely items are saved.READ ALSO Sam Bankman-Fried, the criminal of the centuryCéline Lacour will promote a Boulle marquetry desk estimated at 250,000 euros to an vintage supplier in Chartres. Regency interval armchairs, tables and consoles had been additionally offered… to the Saint-Ouen flea market. This furnishings was offered off for slightly below 10,000 euros. A pittance in comparison with their worth. Scammers usually are not very educated.

This tragic farce ends in July 2023. The proprietor of the citadel, frightened, returns from Berlin to assert her dues. Too late: leaving a devastated constructing, the household fled to the island of Oléron, the place the couple discovered new house owners to “pigeon”. They will likely be arrested in a home value 1.6 million euros.

Another posh home in Yvelines

The gendarmes from Versailles and the Rambouillet Research Section then found that the couple was not at their first try in Yvelines. Just earlier than arriving on the citadel, Michael alias “Marcel” or “Marcus” and his spouse moved in November 2022 into a fancy residence in Montfort-l’Amaury (Yvelines). The previous dungeons of the commune, rehabilitated on 5 flooring. Purchase worth ? 1 million euros. The couple performed the identical quantity to the proprietor. This time, Céline Lacour launched herself as an agent of the Versailles rectorate.

The proprietor will rapidly remorse having trusted them. While they transfer in with out paying a penny, he solely speaks to them by means of legal professionals. To handle their case, the couple mandated the distinguished agency Deloitte, with charges of greater than 10,000 euros! They won’t ever see the colour of it both…

READ ALSO “Madoff of Maine-et-Loire”: criminal however not an excessive amount ofThe proprietor and his associates lastly get better the home by breaking into it one night in May 2023. They take turns for a number of days earlier than having the couple's furnishings saved to keep away from their return. The electrical energy invoice, which climbed to greater than 6,000 euros, was by no means paid. “There was also a lot of levity on the part of the civil parties,” factors out Michael Bertrand’s lawyer in a curious reversal of roles. Mr. Bertrand could also be a easy talker, however a easy lie will not be sufficient to characterize fraud. »

Convictions in spades

However, Michael Bertrand has made a profession out of fraud. Since 2004, he has been convicted ten instances, primarily for scams. As the positioning 78actu revealed, the sleek talker made individuals imagine in 2006 that he might manage a Robbie Williams live performance on the Bollaert stadium of RC Lens. A 140,000 euro rip-off.

He tried once more two years later, providing the Valenciennes membership a Stromae live performance. Michael Bertrand, who performs on his English title to invent origins throughout the Channel, solely has coaching as a forklift driver in Moselle. Another current process would have been opened for work by no means paid for on a barge situated in Hauts-de-Seine.

“Why this constant cavalry? » asks the president of the court. “I recognize the facts and I take full responsibility, Mr. President,” the defendant instantly says. Throughout the listening to this Thursday, nevertheless, he’ll attempt to reduce the size of the rip-off. By systematically concluding his interventions with: “But I recognize and am entirely responsible…”

A “mythomania that pushes him to extremes”

A psychiatric evaluation dated 2012 describes him as a being “suffered from a mythomania which pushes him to extremes” and whose “narcissism” prevents him “from recognizing the seriousness of the facts”. His lawyer describes him as a toddler of the DDASS, with out a household, who wished to style the pleasures of an inaccessible world. He would have led his associate alongside together with his joke. Justice didn’t imagine it. Their son was entrusted to a relative within the North.

In the field, Céline Lacour performs the delicate little factor. “I was stupid, naive, the man always told me that he was solvent,” she murmurs in a quavering voice. “It was me who brought my wife into this,” assures Michael Bertrand. But was Céline Lacour actually unaware of something?

Several civil events described a totally completely different aspect of her persona: threatening on the phone, she didn’t hesitate to vow non-existent transfers and was under no circumstances as discreet as she claims. To an vintage supplier, for instance, she introduced the stolen furnishings as “family sharing on her husband’s side”. “I said it came from my grandmother,” corrects the defendant. “It’s not better!” » sighs the president. “They’re a well-established couple,” insists a scammed proprietor on the bar.

If the scammer introduced himself beneath a false title, it’s “because he can no longer stand being “Michael Bertrand””, claims his lawyer. Michael Bertrand due to this fact tried to flee his persona… by committing a brand new rip-off. “I have the impression of perpetual headlong flight,” worries the prosecutor. The defendant's conviction was accompanied by an obligation of care. In jail.