Page last updated at 17:40 GMT, Thursday, 30 October 2008

Man jailed for Des O'Connor fraud

Des O'Connor
Des O'Connor's credit card was among 183 recorded by Apalara

A sales assistant who spent nearly 1,000 of presenter Des O'Connor's money during a 169,000 credit card fraud has been jailed for 18 months.

Olanrewaju Apalara, 26, used his mobile phone to record the card details of customers, including Mr O'Connor, at John Lewis in central London in 2005.

Apalara, from Dagenham, east London, then used those details to buy goods online and clear student debts.

He admitted obtaining property by deception at Southwark Crown Court.

Apalara also admitted converting the proceeds of criminal property.

The court heard that once Apalara had obtained the card details, he registered them under false names online and ordered goods to be delivered to addresses of friends and family.

'Flagrant abuse'

Ben Douglas-Jones, prosecuting, said that as time passed Apalara became "arrogant" and started placing orders under the account name "Killer Fraud".

Apalara used 183 credit cards over nine months and Mr Douglas-Jones said that had Apalara not been arrested he could potentially have defrauded 300,000.

Passing sentence, Judge Anthony Pitts said: "It is a tragedy and it is sad to see someone of your intelligence and ability in front of the court on serious charges of dishonesty."

Apalara's need to clear his debts were no excuse for "the flagrant abuse of trust" committed during "this determined and serious fraud", the judge added.

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