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Junior hotel boss jailed for £14,000 spending spree on guests' credit cards

07 May 2010 by
Junior hotel boss jailed for £14,000 spending spree on guests' credit cards

A champagne-loving junior hotel boss who ran up a £14,000 bar bill at an exclusive Mayfair club after stealing guests' credit card details has been jailed for 18 months.

Private-school-educated Saad Lakhdar-Ghazal, 23, began working at the luxury Durley House hotel, Sloane Street, Knightsbridge, on 1 July last year and copied multiple credit card numbers until he left on 28 October.

He was jailed on Thursday 6 May after a spending spree that left American Express £100,000 out of pocket.

"You were sucked into this world of greed to have fun," Southwark Crown Court Judge John Price told the defendant. "Well, the party's over.

"You got a job at a leading hotel and worked in management and got your hands on information relating to people's credit cards and fell in with a dishonest high-living group of people and you gave them information.

"It all went on high-living, girls, drinking, clubs and you spent large sums. Nothing was obtained, but a good time and it has all gone."

Lakhdar-Ghazal pleaded guilty that on 22 November, at the British Luxury Club, New Bond Street, he falsely represented he was entitled to use an American Express number to pay a £5,522.50 bill for thirteen bottles of champagne.

He also pleaded guilty that on 28 November, at the same club, he used another Amex number to pay bills of £2,660 and £6,000.

Lakhdar-Ghazal also admitted possessing a counterfeit American Express card, details of seventeen bank accounts on bits of paper and details of another fifty-four on his mobile phone, in connection with fraud on 13 December.

He also admitted fraud at Durley House hotel, namely obtaining bank details and falsely representing to Eurostar he was entitled to use a card to pay a £572 fare.

A search of the Bayswater hotel room he was staying in revealed Amex card numbers which had run up charges of another £85,000, plus attempts totalling £26,000.

Lakhdar-Ghazal insists his spending totalled only £15,000, but accepts associates used numbers he supplied to spend £85,000 at other top private members clubs, luxury retailer Luis Vuitton, Noura Brasserie and Piccadilly's Moroccan Momo restaurant.

One of the victims is movie tough-guy Dolph Lundgren.

He attended a hotel management course in Marbella, Spain, and the Durley House management internship was his first job in the U.K.

Prosecutor Mr. Stephen Winberg told the court Lakhdar-Ghazal convinced the British Luxury Club his father was phoning him card details to pay the huge bar bill, but on all three occasions he was using victims' details.

His collection of bankcard details included numbers, expiry dates and the three-digit CCV security code.

"He began to associate with gentlemen who were indulging in a lavish lifestyle and saw an opportunity that led him down a road resulting in disappointment for him and his family," said Miss Rachel Ramez, defending.

"He noted down numbers and his benefit was several very expensive nights out. The cards were used much wider by other people, but he admitted he started the ball rolling.

"He is embarrassed and ashamed he went after a lifestyle of this sort at such cost," added Miss Ramez. "All he wants to do is return home with his family. He is struggling being apart from them."

DI Richard Fisher, head of the cheque and credit card unit at City of London Police said: "Today's sentencing is the result of hard work by our officers and again sends out a clear message that criminals will not be allowed to get away with credit card fraud "

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](http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/2009/11/16/330935/Financial-controller-of-Midlands-catering-firm-guilty-of-defrauding-company.htm)*By Neil Gerrard*

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