Essex

Name-dropping conman 'friend of football stars' is jailed

A conman who tried to book luxury holidays for footballer John Terry using stolen bank card details has been jailed for four and a half years.

Faisal Madani, 48, of Highwoods, Colchester, attempted to spend about £110,000 on other people's credit and debit cards on trips to the Middle East for high-profile sports stars.

Madani was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court.

He admitted 17 fraud counts and three of possessing fake ID papers.

These included a Greek passport, a Tunisian passport and Tunisian immigration documents.

Counterfeit currency

He also admitted two counts of possessing items to use for fraud, one of theft and one of acquiring criminal property.

Madani was sentenced on 12 June, but Judge Alistair McCreath banned the publication of details of the case until the court had dealt with another charge against him.

He pleaded guilty at the same court to the possession of counterfeit currency, a court official said.

The fraudster, who has already served a jail term after a trial at Chester for forging and selling the autographs of top sports stars, posed as a personal friend of Premier League footballers and their associates, the court heard.

"Madani used or tried to use credit and debit cards that belonged to other people to book holidays to Dubai for high-profile people (including Terry)," said prosecutor Helen Malcolm QC, opening the case.

'Pure vanity'

"The defendant is somebody who has plainly sought to establish himself as a figure of some note in the professional sports industry and he claims to have contact with some footballers."

The court heard Madani also attempted to use stolen credit and debit card details to pay a £1,000 deposit on flights for the Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, and £2,000 for a box at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium for Terry.

In mitigation, Madani's lawyer, Christopher van Hagan, said Madani had acted in "pure vanity".

He said: "This man, for all intents and purposes, must be described as a conman.

"The hallmark is not, as it is for most conmen, for financial gain. He is a man who suffers from vanity."

Passing sentence, Judge McCreath told Madani: "The background of this case is the fact that you decided, for whatever reason, to create a persona that was wholly false.

"By some means or other, you acquired all the details in relation to a significant number of high-value credit cards."

Another judge, Peter Testar, sentenced him to four months for the possession of counterfeit currency, to run concurrently.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites