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Glamourous conwoman jailed for six years after tricking art world's very best

PUBLISHED: 17:10 02 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:40 05 October 2010

Furs and antiques were stashed in an East End lock up

Furs and antiques were stashed in an East End lock up

A glamorous conwoman who tricked leading auction houses out of gems and antiques was jailed for six years last week. Shahra Marsh, 52, fooled Christies, Sotheby s, Bonhams and French auctioneers into believing she could afford the most expensive lots on

A glamorous conwoman who tricked leading auction houses out of gems and antiques was jailed for six years last week.

Shahra Marsh, 52, fooled Christies, Sotheby's, Bonhams and French auctioneers into believing she could afford the most expensive lots on offer.

Educated in Paris, the Iranian-born fraudster posed as French socialite, charming staff with her knowledge and apparent wealth.

Dressed in a £20,000 fur coat and dripping with diamonds, the bleached blonde oozed aristocratic wealth. But it was just a charade that enabled Marsh to amass a staggering collection of riches with cheques that later bounced.

While playing the part of a sophisticate Marsh of Port East Apartments, Hertsmere Road, Poplar, was claiming incapacity benefits of around £80 a week

The accomplished fraudster had denied a string of charges relating to obtaining property by deception, concealing criminal property and counts of fraud.

But on the sixth day of her trial at Southwark Crown Court the blonde finally admitted her guilt before the jury.

Judge James Wadsworth QC said Marsh had 'indulged in a premeditated and manipulative behaviour' and said she had a 'compulsion' to offend.

He jailed her for a total of six years.

Marsh, pulled off the scam over six years.Between 2001 and 2007, she amassed a gallery of 16th century artworks, ornate jewellery and antique furniture including a Louis XV commode.

In one safety deposit box police discovered 104 items of jewellery worth more than £770,000. She also hoarded marble-topped furniture, French paintings and designer items at a secret storage facility in the East End.

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