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Hotel credit card scammer is jailed

PUBLISHED: 17:01 22 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:57 12 August 2010

A BOGUS IT engineer who conned his way into five-star West End hotels to steal customer credit card details has been jailed for three-and-a-half years. Stephen Farhi, 28, could have made more than £300,000 from the scam but was arrested after crashing a

A BOGUS IT engineer who conned his way into five-star West End hotels to steal customer credit card details has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Stephen Farhi, 28, could have made more than £300,000 from the scam but was arrested after crashing a Lamborghini Gallardo into a lamppost in Orpington.

He had already bought £2,000 worth of champagne and nearly £4,000 of computer equipment with the proceeds of the fraud.

Southwark Crown Court heard how Farhi, from Norwich, and also of St Nicholas Lodge, St Paul's Cray Road, Chislehurst, would strike hotels at night wearing work overalls, claiming to be a repair man.

Instead he fitted "key loggers" to computers to record the entering of account numbers and other security details.

He targeted The Park Lane Hotel, in Piccadilly, Grosvenor House Hotel, in Park Lane, Metropolitan Hotel, in Old Park Lane, and the Hilton Hotel, also in Park Lane, between June 2007 and May last year.

He was sentenced last Friday after pleading guilty to six counts of fraud and five counts of possession of articles for use in fraud.

Jurors heard Farhi continued his scam despite being caught with various credit cards in 2007 and bailed.

He was arrested again on May 9 when he crashed a blue Lamborghini Gallardo in Orpington.

It is not known if the vehicle was his or stolen, but officers found three Mac computers in the boot.

His room in Chislehurst was searched where officers found £2,000 worth of bubbly and more than £2,000 in notes.

Passing sentence, Recorder Ian Darling said: "Staggeringly you were let out on bail, but you were still pursuing criminality."

The fraudster, who has 31 convictions for 60 previous offences, is already serving a two year sentence for theft from a motor vehicle.

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