Man cut head to fake brain surgery and cancer in £59k best friend con

Martin McCarthy fabricated a litany of procedures by specialists in London in order to fund a gambling habit.

Martin McCarthy cut own head to fake brain surgery and cancer diagnosis to con best friend out of £59,000 Website

A gambler conned his best friend out of £59,000 to fund his addiction by pretending to have terminal cancer.

Martin McCarthy, 64, made the bogus claims to Raymond Doyle at his home in Glasgow’s Summerston between August 2018 and July 2021.

McCarthy pretended that he had to go to London to receive specialist treatment and Mr Doyle paid his expenses.

He was under the false belief he would receive his money back as McCarthy was due a large pension pay-out.

The conman also scarred his head and sent pictures pretending to have brain surgery to continue the ruse.

McCarthy pled guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to the single charge of obtaining £59,000 by fraud.

The court heard McCarthy moved from London to Glasgow in 2017 and befriended Mr Doyle after encountering him at a Gambler’s Anonymous meeting.

The pair became best friends and Mr Doyle gave McCarthy a job at his company paying him £1,400 a month.

Prosecutor Christopher McKnight said: “In August 2018, McCarthy told him that he had been diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer for which there was no cure.

“He stated that he only had five years to live and as being treated at the Beatson cancer clinic in Glasgow.

“He said he had to go to London for medical treatment only available there.”

McCarthy claimed he was due a pension pay-out of £200,000-£300,000.

Mr McKnight added: “He came to an agreement with Mr Doyle that he would pay him for accommodation, travel and living expenses while in London receiving medical treatment.

“However, this was only on the basis that McCarthy would pay him back when his pension payment was finalised.”

Mr Doyle also continued to pay McCarthy a salary when he was not working due to “receiving medical treatment.”

McCarthy mentioned blood transfusions and chemotherapy to the victim during conversations at the time.

He also stated that he received two operations to the brain and two stem cell transplants as well as half of his lung removed.

McCarthy told Mr Doyle in March 2021 that he was due to receive his payment shortly but this did not happen.

Mr McKnight added: “McCarthy made various excuses over the next few months as to why the payment didn’t materialise but insisted it would go through soon and he would pay him back.”

Mr Doyle continued to pay McCarthy through to July 2021.

The victim last heard from McCarthy who stated he was going into hospital for an operation on July 13.

Another witness was also aware of the agreement meantime and was in regular contact with McCarthy.

Mr McKnight said: “He sent a picture of a scar on his head which he claimed was the result of a brain operation.”

The hearing was told that McCarthy “had knowledge of relevant procedures or carried research on the condition.”

He also named a specialist doctor at a London hospital appropriate to his condition.

Checks later discovered that there was no record of McCarthy receiving treatment or have any condition.

There was also no record of him being at a hospital in London or the Beatson clinic.

Mr Doyle went to police on July 26 believing he was the victim of fraud.

McCarthy was traced, arrested and quizzed when he made full admissions to officers.

He stated that he “suffered from a gambling addiction” and lied about suffering from terminal cancer in order to “borrow money on the pretence it was for medical treatment as well as related expenses.”

Mr McKnight added: “He confirmed that he used the funds provided to fund his gambling addiction, spent the cash at various bookmakers in the UK.

“He admitted cutting his own head in order to pretend he had undergone brain surgery.”

The hearing was told Mr Doyle feels “stupid, angry and betrayed” as a result of the fraud.

He added that he feels McCarthy “used every situation” to manipulate him for more money and finds it difficult to trust other people.

Ryan Sloan, defending, told the court: “He knows what lies before him.”

Sentence was deferred pending background reports until the end of the month by Sheriff Iain Fleming.

He told McCarthy: “This was a prolonged and sustained fraud short of £60,000 against a close personal friend.

“It seems to me, given your record, a custodial sentence is inevitable and I will remand you in custody.”

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