A fraudster who blew £175,000 on Riyad Mahrez’s bank card when he treated himself to a £20,000 trip to Ibiza, gambling and even trips to Nando’s, KFC and Greggs has been pictured.
It took the Premier League football star five weeks to realise the money had been taken and block the card which truck driver Sharif Mohamed, 32, had defrauded in 2017.
Mahrez was targeted after an ‘unknown person’ called up Barclays Bank, posing as the £200,000-a-week Etihad favourite footballer, and ordered a replacement card in his name.
Mohamed travelled from his home in east London to Leicester, where Mahrez was playing at the time so large cash withdrawals from ATMs would appear less suspicious, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.
Alex Matthews, prosecuting, said £175,830 was stolen from the player between August 16 and September 20, 2017 when the card was finally stopped.
It took Premier League football star Riyad Mahrez five weeks to realise the money had been taken and block the card which truck driver Sharif Mohamed (pictured), 32, had defrauded in 2017
Mahrez was targeted after an ‘unknown person’ called up Barclays Bank, posing as the £200,000-a-week Etihad favourite footballer, and ordered a replacement card in his name. Pictured: Mohamed
Mohamed indulged in a £20,000 trip to Ibiza, where he drank champagne at the Bali Beach Club restaurant and partook in a spending spree at designer boutiques.
Detailing the trip, Ms Matthews said: ‘It was a very nice holiday. The massive majority of spending on this list is like going to places like Nikki Beach and spending on champagne at the bar.
‘Hotels, various beach bars, this is a holiday the defendant said in interview that he went on.’
He had stayed at the Shangri-La hotel in London’s Shard and enjoyed meals at the Edward John Lucas restaurant, while also spending £1,400 on a single pair of Armani jeans.
Mohamed also took an expensive trip to the Aspers Casino in the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre in London, and bought several takeaway meals.
Mahrez – who played for Leicester City at the time – didn’t realise the money had been taken for more than a month.
Mahrez was said last week to have split from his wife before hooking up with fashion student Taylor Ward, 22 (pictured)— daughter of Real Housewives of Cheshire reality star Dawn, 46
A fraudster blew £175,000 on Riyad Mahrez’s bank card as he treated himself to a £20,000 trip to Ibiza, gambling and even trips to Nando’s, KFC and Greggs. Mahrez is said to have split up with wife Rita (pictured)
Former Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville told the Sun: ‘The most amazing thing is that someone can blow £175,000 on a bank card without the loser even realising.’
He added: ‘Why on earth would an elite footballer be spending at fast food joints and Britain’s favourite steak bake supplier?
‘Banks are normally very quick off the mark to spot unusual spending but if the sums were low then it probably wouldn’t flag up.’
Ms Matthews added: ‘Mohamed entered a basis of plea that he was acting under direction, he worked for a group at the bank.’
He said the bank card belonged to a ‘Premier League footballer, which explains why there was so much money on it’.
Pictured: Mahrez during Manchester City;’ win over Burnley on February 3
Sharif Mohamed enjoyed the sun on a trip to Ibiza – including a stop at the Bali Beach Club (Pictured), the court heard
Mohamed blew £20,000 drinking champagne at beach bars and on designer clothes in Ibiza (stock image)
The fraudster’ spree also included a stay at the Shangri-La Hotel in London’s Shard (pictured)
Daniel Higgins, for Mohamed, said: ‘In so far as the overall fraud on this card, which is in the region of £175,000, he is guilty.
‘In terms of personal benefit he can’t exactly qualify, at least he had a very nice holiday and other benefits.
‘It’s not suggested either that when arrested he had copious amounts of the goods.
‘One of the difficulties is that this was during a period of his life, some period ago, when he was drinking and taking drugs and his ability to recall in detail is rather limited.’
Mohamed previously received a suspended sentence for a hotel booking scam and was jailed for 45 month in 2009 for robbery, the court heard.
He also used the card to fund gambling at Aspers Casino in London’s Westfield Stratford City
And it wasn’t all the finer things in life – he also used the footballer’s money to trreat himself to food from Greggs
Judge Laurie West-Knights, QC, indicated he might hand the fraudster a suspended jail sentence.
‘I’m sorry but if you think I’m being dense or my judgement is clouded by the Covid jab,’ the judge said.
‘I’m still interested in the personal benefit to him in terms of feel rather than actual numbers.
‘I’m trying to get hands on whether he or somebody got very little out of it by comparison or he personally had a substantial amount. It affects my view of the criminality.
‘Do I come away with the feeling that he is genuinely making a clear break of it?
‘Which would be in my point of view an extraordinary extent of mercy.
‘I need to resolve whether he has come clean, if he is deceiving me at this stage there is only one place he can go.
‘I’m left with this feeling that the wool is being pulled over my eyes. when I’m being asked to make this exceptional order.
‘I’m sorry I couldn’t have dealt with it today but I’m particularly keen it should be dealt with fairly and properly.’
The fraudster, who admitted one charge of fraud, was bailed ahead of sentencing on February 25.