TL:DR Neil Strike, a poker player from Newcastle, is a thief, a liar, a grimmer and a con man. In 2016 he stole over £160,000 from 20 UK poker players. Below is how he stole from me.
As some will know, I was the carer for my disabled brother Gordon, he’d lived with me and my partner since 2003 when my mother passed away. Gordon was diagnosed with cancer in March 2015 and we were told he would only live for 3 to 6 months. I stepped away from poker to make sure I could give my brother the best end of life possible and I think we managed that.
Fast forward to 18th April 2016 and my brother has surpassed all expectations for how long he’d live, but he’s struggling now and we’re back in the palliative care ward at our local hospital. I check my phone and I see a message from Neil Strike asking for a loan. This is the same message he sent to at least a dozen people that day and hundreds more over the coming weeks and months.
Many people who loaned him money described how they felt stupid, gullible, like they had the word “mug” printed on their head. I didn’t though, I asked for proof he had the means to pay me back, I wanted to see statements or screengrabs from online accounts.
Neil Strike had a very successful 2014 & 2015, with numerous big cashes.
This was money Neil claimed to have safe in a long term savings account. By April 2016 that account was empty. Redactions are to protect the identity of Neil’s partner, who is also a victim of Neil’s scams and manipulation.
To get around having to provide me the proof I was asking for, Neil claimed the account was in his partners name and she was in hospital with a cancer scare.
The truth was the account was empty but Neil, knowing the situation I was going through with my brother said the one word he knew would garner sympathy. “Cancer”.
He knew I was going through hell with my brother, I’d posted nothing else on my facebook but progress updates for how my brother was doing for the past 12 months. I’d posted that we were in hospital with my brother that week.
Neil wanted £10,000 from me, which at that stage, he’d already decided he wasn’t paying back to anyone who loaned it to him. He literally asked a hundred people and even after we’d given him £100,000 he asked a hundred more people. But to get me to part with my cash and give up on my demand for proof, Neil said he couldn’t show me the statement (for the empty account) because his partner had a cancer scare and the account was in her name.
He manipulated my dying brother and our situation because he knew I would automatically feel sympathy for him, because I knew exactly what it was like to face the prospect of losing someone to cancer. I wasn’t going to press him for proof when he and his partner were going through the hell that me and my brother were going through.
I relented and that day, within an hour of him asking, I transferred £5,000 directly to his bank account and told him I would send another £5k in 2 weeks. He promised he would give me £12,000 back but I insisted I didn’t want anything extra, just the £10,000, but that I really couldnt afford to lose it. He promised me it was safe.
Later that afternoon he was sending the same message to dozens more people, the next day another load of messages asking for help with the same business cash flow problem to a dozen more.
I sent the 2nd £5,000 payment on the 29th April. He’d requested I send it to a different account. This seemed suspicious and I briefly considered his facebook may have been hacked and that it hadn’t been Neil I’d been speaking to all along, so just for an extra reassurance I texted his phone to make sure it was him, and it was, so I sent the 2nd £5,000.
2 days before and 1 day after I sent Neil the 2nd £5k, he cashed for a combined £25,000 in 2 events at EPT Monaco. Throughout May Neil continued asking people for loans. He cashed again for £5k in the middle of May.
On Monday the 9th of May my brother died, peacefully in his sleep at home, after a weekend being visited by all his friends and family, his favourite thing, the people he loved and who loved him.
We’d been ready for a terrible & frightening end. We had powerful sedatives at home and been trained to administer them, in the event he was dying in pain and distress.
Fortunately this wasn’t needed and he had a gentle end, he just drifted off in his sleep, no pain, no suffering, no distress and no fear.
26th of May.
Neil asks if he can extend the loan for another 4 weeks, with a mixture of lies and excuses.
30th of June.
More excuses and the Brexit vote, oh that’s terrible for him, he would have been able to pay me (and everyone else I assume) if it hadn’t been a vote to leave. All lies of course.
All through June & July he’s been asking and getting more loans from people, and apparently its all been gambled away.
15th of August.
My circumstances are getting dire. My brother’s funeral costs and a few other things in my personal life have cropped up that have tied up most of the rest of my spare cash (around £15k). Something that’s still ongoing into 2017, but I hope should be resolved soon.
I’ve qualified for €50 to the Estrellas Barcelona €1k, so has Neil. He tells me he’s borrowed £8,000 from his mother in law to go to Barcelona and he transfers £4,000 to me, 40% of what he owes, 5 months into a 4 week loan. I see Neil over there briefly. He’s standing with 2 other people who he’d borrowed large sums from. None of us know about each others debts at this stage, we are very discreet and loyal to him, no wonder he looked awkward.
Later in December once all is revealed I ask him about the £4k. He then claims it was paid from £60k that was repaid from a £100k loan that went bad. Once I’d went public another debtor contacted me and confirmed he’d loaned Neil £7,000 just before Barcelona and that he thinks my £4k was paid from that. Somehow I cant help but feel guilty about it even though I’ve done nothing wrong.
It looks as though my 1st £5k payment in April was used to repay a loan of £3k that someone gave Neil in March. It looks like he borrowed from new people to pay some old debts to keep his scam going for longer and keep his borrowing from going public.
September & October.
The excuses keep coming and when a grimmer is exposed he messages me to reassure me that’s not what’s happening with us.
17th of November.
Neil comes clean for the first time, starting with a load of excuses but then admits he’s gambled away my money and money borrowed from a few named people and a “a couple of others”. There’s actually £225,000 owed (including interest he’d promised) from 20 different people. A hundred others have contacted me since I went public on facebook saying he’d asked them with a near identical copied and pasted message about his business cash flow problems, how he needed them to be discreet, that we know him and he’d be embarrassed if this ever came out.
5th of December.
One of the creditors tries to help Neil. He handles the communication with those owed, gets us to agree to drop all the interest Neil promised us and asks if any would be willing to accept a smaller amount. The friend then takes control of Neil’s finances, gets him a job and monitors him, ensuring he attends Gamblers anonymous. Neil now owes £160,000.
Going over how events unfolded I realise Neil used my brother dying of cancer to stop me getting proof of his finances. I challenge him and threaten to expose this. He pleads with me not to. He shows me the statement that he did have money at one time (but not when he borrowed from me) and shows me hospital letters from March and the beginning of April, 2 weeks before he borrowed from me. He thinks this is proof he didn’t lie.
He used his own partner’s cancer scare and my brother dying of cancer to hide the fact he didn’t have the means to repay me. That is how low and scummy he is. He has zero morals and has shown no real remorse for the damage he’s caused to some of the best people in our community.
The other creditor who was helping him persuaded me to not go public, I reluctantly agreed.
10th of February 2017.
The other creditor contacts us all to tell us Neil has stolen £8,000 from him. An element of the job he got him was trusting him with cash. This is acknowledged to be a mistake.
Its assumed Neil has also gambled this cash away.
Neil Strike is a scumbag, a con man, a liar, a thief, a grimmer and a sociopath. He feels no empathy for those he’s wronged, he doesn’t care about anyone except himself. Even after people he has grimmed give him another chance, he steals from them again and lies about it.
Please share this widely, and make sure no one else gets taken in by him again.
Since going public on facebook, I’ve had hundreds of people contact me telling me he tried to get money from them. Rather than a problem gambler who let things get out of control, as he’s portrayed it. It seems he set out in a methodical way to get as much money as possible from as many people as possible. The victims are some of the nicest people in poker, the warm hearted, the kind, the generous. We don’t feel that way, we feel like the stupid, the gullible, the suckers. A guy we trusted, a guy we knew, someone who wouldn’t steal from his friends. We were wrong.
For me personally its doubly shit. His timing couldn’t have been worse. People have reached out and offered me financial help and it’s been pretty humbling, but that is something about the community we’re in. There are so many good people, even in the midst of this shitstorm where the reputation of all are tarnished by this prick’s actions, people are still kind, caring & considerate.
I didn’t need to take anyone’s help but its reassuring to know it was there. Instead, I’m having to work for a living. A job. I mean, it feels wrong. I feel dirty. But… I can look myself in the mirror, unlike Neil Strike.
Long term, everything looks good, so no sympathy please, I’ll be fine.
Thanks for reading, please share, NOW GO AWAY*. 🙂
*© Charlie Brooker 2007