A forklift driver from East London has been jailed for fraud after spending £175k using Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez’s bank card.
Sharif Mohamed, 32, admitted to spending some of the money on Nando’s, Greggs, clothes for his children, as well as drinks in high-end Ibiza bars but explained that he was ‘the fall guy’ for a wider group of people who used the card.
Mohamed was sentenced at London’s Snaresbrook Crown Court to three years and eight months in jail, after Judge Laurence West-Knights QC said that ‘staggering sums’ of money were stolen from Mahrez.
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The court also heard that Mahrez’s card was used at casinos, hotel stays, and at a nail salon too.
The gang made ‘hundreds of transactions’ during the month that they had possession of the card, before Mahrez noticed the large amounts of money drained from his account.
Barclays Bank was forced to reimburse Mahrez £175,830.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) confirmed that Mahrez, currently a winger for Manchester City but previously playing for Leicester City, was the victim of the scam.
Mohamed, of Forest Gate, East London, had previous convictions for fraud, including a 22-month suspended sentence in 2016 and an 18-month suspended sentence for bank card fraud just two months before Mahrez’s card was stolen.
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Judge West-Knights said: “Only two months later you were involved in committing these offences with the same man, and possibly with the same others, we don’t know.
“The essence of this fraud was that it appears to have one perpetrated on an individual with a great deal of money, somebody who in fact would not spot these vast sums disappearing from the account at least not straight away.”
Mohamed told the court two of the names of his alleged accomplices, as well as the nicknames of two others, but the judge believes that Mohamed knows more than he’s saying.
The judge said: “There is much about what you say which is wholly unreliable.”
The card stolen from Mahrez was used to make purchases on a Jet2 flight, as well as at a number of venues in Ibiza.
Police tracked the use of the card and cross-referenced it with CCTV at cashpoints in Stratford and Leicester Haymarket shopping centre, with evidence provided of Mohamed withdrawing money using the card around 10 times.