A man who conned Premier League footballers out of thousands of pounds by promising luxury hampers and then disappearing with the cash has been convicted.
Stephen Ackerman, 48 (21.04.68) of Hillcroft, Loughton was found guilty on Monday, 31 October at Snaresbrook Crown Court of 18 counts of fraud, totalling more than £60,000.
The court heard how on 12 December 2014 Ackerman attended West Ham United’s training ground to sell Christmas hampers.
Ackerman, using the pseudonym ‘Mark Kingston’, took payment from a number of players and staff using a handheld chip and pin device.
The luxury goods were never delivered and in the following weeks some of the victims then noticed unauthorised payments running into the thousands charged to their bank accounts.
They reported the matter to police and following an investigation by Newham CID, Ackerman was arrested on 5 March 2015.
He was charged on 22 October 2015 with 13 counts of fraud, four offences related to the use of compromised bank cards and one count of possessing an article for use in fraud.
Ackerman was caught after search warrants were carried out at addresses linked to him throughout Essex and Hertfordshire. Investigations also showed that his vehicle was close to the training ground immediately before and after the fraudster had arrived and left the venue.
He was picked out of an ID parade by one witness following his arrest. Police also obtained evidence of telephone
calls with Ackerman purporting to be Mark Kingston while using a credit card belonging to one of the footballers.
Ackerman will be sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, 25 November.
A/Detective Sergeant Jamie Snell, from Newham CID, said: “Ackerman preyed on the trust of people he approached and essentially told an elaborate pack of lies in order to get them to part with their cash. He defrauded a total of £61,047 from his victims and thought that due to their fame they would never report the matter to the police.
“He is a confident and accomplished fraudster and we are delighted to have received this verdict from the jury today.”