|Raymond Scott, international playboy|
In Washington DC, 53-year-old man walks into the Folger Shakespeare Library, a famous research center on Shakespeare, and says, "Hey, I have this rare Shakespeare folio I got from a guy in Cuba. Can you tell me how much it’s worth?"
The experts didn’t take long to recognize the book, which was stolen 10 years ago from Durham University in the UK. They called the FBI.
(And how did they recognize the book? The book was so rare and valuable that all the identifying marks on every single page had been noticed and cataloged.)
The folio, one of only 228 surviving copies, had been "damaged, brutalised and mutilated" to try and disguise its origins. It was worth millions of dollars.
Soon Mr Scott and his conman lifestyle were being examined by British police.
He said he was a wealthy rare book dealer.
Mr. Scott, from the UK, had £90,000 in credit card debt, and was living on state benefits.
He told police: ‘I’m an alcoholic and need two bottles of top-of-the-range champagne every day, but only after 6pm. I hope you have some in the police station.”
The police said: ”He was confident, arrogant and dismissive in his first interview telling officers he was not there to talk to them. His manner was indignant and quite abrasive."
He was first convicted of a crime in 1977, and had been found guilty on 15 separate occasions of a total of 24 offenses.
Scott said to others that he had international business interests and homes in Monte Carlo and Liechtenstein.
He actually lived with his elderly mother.
Mr. Scott said that while he was in Cuba, Heidy Garcia Rios had introduced him to a retired military major whose late mother had kept the folio in an old wooden bible box, and Mr. Scott offered to go to Washington to have it authenticated. He said he gave them a lot of money as a security deposit.
But in reality he was infatuated with and a lover of Ms. Rios, a 23-year Cuban dancer. In the months before trying to sell the folio, he had proposed to her and sent her lots of money.
While he was in court, Mr. Scott wore Valentino sunglasses, Versace crocodile shoes and a Louis Vuitton waist pouch. He was very excited with all the attention he was getting from the press. He told journalists he was going to spray cameramen with champagne on the steps of the court house.
However, his story about getting the folio in Cuba was exposed as a lie.
And the judge said the damage to the folio was "cultural vandalisation" of a "quintessentially English treasure" and that "This was an attempt by you to take on the world’s experts at their own expertise. You were confident that that balance had been achieved. You were, however, over-confident."
Mr Raymond Scott was sentenced, for this crime and another theft, to 8 years in prison.
Raymond Scott’s life of deceit, Telegraph>>‘Tome raider’ conman jailed… Mail Online>> Jobless man ‘mutilated’ stolen Shakespeare folio, Telegraph>>