When they make a film about Mark Acklom, a dog will be kicked in the very first scene. Last year his mother told the Daily Mail that “when he was two, I bought our first puppy.... She was sitting on the stairs. He went up and just kicked her out of the way. Most children would go up to a puppy and cuddle it.”

But Mark Acklom wasn’t most children. Mark Acklom would grow up to become one of the U.K.’s most prolific con men, and its most-wanted fugitive. Before his dramatic, balcony-leaping arrest outside Zurich last year—before his extradition, and before the five-year prison sentence he has just begun—Acklom had led a life of ostentatious criminality that walked a fine line between glamour and cruelty. A well-spoken fraudster pirate who sailed on the high seas of bullshit, he systematically ruined the lives of everyone whose orbit he entered.