How Did a Con Man Fool 75 Children Into Thinking They Would Perform at the London Olympics?
A British con man duped 75 children, ranging in age from nine to 19, leading them to believe that they were going to be an official dance team for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The kids spent two hours a week rehearsing for the past four months and their parents shelled out £60 for costumes and a coach. Their dreams were dashed last week, when they learned that they had been scammed.
Their teacher, former English National Ballet dancer Stephen Moonesamy, 35, has been arrested and charged with fraud.
Sadly, their work is all for naught as the games cannot accommodate them and help soothe the pain of disappointment. A spokesman for the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games said preparations for the closing ceremony are too deeply advanced to include the disappointed young performers in some way, shape or form.
The rep said, “We are appalled that these young people appear to have been misled in such a way. The matter is in the hands of the police.”
The children, all members of three different dance schools, were contacted in February and asked to audition. They were even shown a website that boasted a message from Earl Spencer, brother of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. So on the surface, it was legitimate and on the up and up.
Parents had to sign up to a list of 17 terms and conditions, which included agreeing not to reveal any details of the routine, which made sense, since it was a hoax. A stipulation, like no cutting of hair, as bit odd, though.
Further details about why Moonesamy, 35, deceived the children were not available. A 31-year-old woman was also arrested.