A convicted fraudster splashed over £175k on a bank card belonging to Riyad Mahrez before the Manchester City winger noticed he had been scammed.
The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed to Daily Star Sport that one Sharif Mohamed, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud, with the fraud totalling £175,830.
His eye-watering overall spendings went unnoticed for almost five weeks while Mahrez was still playing for Leicester City back in 2017, the court heard.
When he eventually realized he had been scammed, he quickly blocked the card which truck driver Sharif Mohamed, 32, had defrauded.
Mr. Mohamed reportedly spent a total of £175,830 during his spending spree, which included the £20,000 he blew drinking champagne at beach bars and on designer clothes in Ibiza.
The Sun reports that he 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.
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.’
The fraud came about after a person pretending to be Mahrez, 29, called Barclays to order a new card in the footballer’s name, according to the Sun.
Mohamed, from East Ham, claimed he was working on behalf of bank employees who then allowed him to use the card.
Prosecutor Alex Matthews said Mohamed admitted the trip to Ibiza, forking out thousands on designed clothes and champagne in bars, but denied claims he had used the card for further holidays to Ibiza and Murcia.
The defendant’s barrister Daniel Higgins told the court: ‘In terms of personal benefit he can’t exactly qualify. At least he had a very nice holiday and other benefits.’
Mr. Higgins added that Mohamed was ‘drinking and taking drugs’ during this period of his life, so ‘his ability to recall in detail is rather limited.’
A sentencing hearing for Mohamed is due on February 25.
Mohamed has previously received a suspended sentence for a hotel booking scam and was also jailed for 45 months in 2009 for robbery.