Lonely hearts racketeer gets five years

A Norwegian man who tricked women into giving him large sums of money has been sentenced by Varberg District Court to five years in jail for serious fraud.

He has also been ordered by the court in western Sweden to pay more than 900,000 kronor in damages to ten of his victims, Hallands Nyheter reports.

Frank Sandberg, 51, was indicted on 16 charges of fraud after managing to convince a number of people, most of them women, to invest large sums of money in a non-existent Norwegian casino. Having promised his backers a handsome return on their investments, he eventually succeeded in raising more than 1.7 million kronor.

Sandberg has been referred to in the Swedish press as a ‘sol-och-vårare’, or ‘sun and spring man’, a phrase the public prosecutor was quick to latch on to when the case went to court last week.

“It has been said that this is a sun and spring case. But in my view Frank Sandberg should get more than sun and spring. He should sit behind bars come rain or shine, in winter and summer, spring and autumn, many times over. He should be sentenced to four orbits of the sun,” said Klas Lundgren.

Most of the women who fell victim to the swindle met Sandberg via internet contact sites. Many of them had short sexual relationships with the Norwegian and were given to think that they might have a future together.

“And it wasn’t the Frank we see here today,” prosecutor Lundgren told the court.

“These women have seen Frank driving a nice car, wearing nice clothes, telling them he is a lawyer or a legal expert and showing them his converted vicarage outside Falkenberg”.

Sandberg denied having committed any offence, or at least none that could be regarded as serious.

His wife was also indicted on charges of acting as an accessory to his crimes after she was believed to have accepted an envelope containing 200,000 kronor. But the district court cleared her of the charges.