Fantasy writer accused of Jewish dating fraud

An American fantasy fiction author has been accused of defrauding millions of pounds from women he met on Jewish dating websites.

Mitchell Gross, the author of a book called "Circle of Lies", is alleged to have posed as a romantic interest in order to encourage at least two women to give him money.

An Atlanta court heard that he had encouraged the women to invest some £2.8 million in a fake company to fund a luxury lifestyle and pay his golf club fees.

One of his alleged victims, a woman called Robbie Johnson, said Mr Gross had told her that Steven Spielberg had bought the rights to his books.

The Atlanta-based writer, 61, pleaded not guilty to US Attorney's Office charges of wire fraud and money laundering. He could face a lengthy jail sentence if convicted.

Last updated: 5:18pm, October 10 2011