A fraudster who blew £175,000 on Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez’s bank card has been jailed for three years and eight months.
Mohamed Sharif, 32, splurged money on partying in Ibiza, designer clothes, a five-star hotel staycation, gambling at a casino in London, and binging on KFC, Nando’s and Greggs.
It took Mahrez more than a month to realise that a con artist had blown the money.
The 29-year-old footballer was targeted after an “unknown person” called up Barclays, posing as the £200,000-a-week winger, and ordered a replacement card in his name.
Sharif travelled from his home in East Ham, east London, to Leicester, where Mahrez was playing at the time so large cash withdrawals from ATMs would appear less suspicious, Snaresbrook Crown Court previously heard.
Alex Matthews, prosecuting, previously said £175,830 was stolen from the player between 16 August and 20 September 2017 when the card was finally stopped.
She said Sharif spent Mahrez’s cash at Aspers Casino at Westfield Stratford City, KFC, Nando’s, Fitness First, Asda and Greggs.
Detailing the trip to Ibiza, Ms Matthews said thousands of pounds was spent at the Bali Beach Club restaurant, adding: “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.”
Referring to a series of boutique payments the prosecutor said: “He spent £900 in one and £600 in the other – and that’s just one night in Ibiza.”
Sharif also bought a pair of Armani jeans worth more than £1,400 with Mahrez’s card, the court heard.
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”.
Sharif splurged £20,000 of Mahrez’s money partying in Ibiza but now claims he is married and living “a modest life”.
Daniel Higgins, for Sharif, 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.”
Sharif previously received a suspended sentence for a hotel booking scam and was jailed for 45 month in 2009 for robbery, the court heard.
Judge Laurie West-Knights, QC, said Sharif also appeared to be involved in a “raft of spending in Murcia”.
Reading from a list of card payments from shops and restaurants he added: “Five hundred quid at a boutique in Ibiza. Edward John Lucas (restaurant).”
Listing payments from the schedule, the judge continued: “£855, £748, £693.”
He exhaled loudly as he continued: “Vestium (designer brand store), several thousand pounds.
“£2,000 on the 7th of September.
“Then at the Shangri-La Hotel again.”
Sharif admitted one count of fraud.