Fraudster guilty of West Ham United Christmas hamper scam
A fraudster who conned West Ham United footballers and staff out of more than £60,000 in a luxury hamper scam has been convicted over the crime.
Stephen Ackerman, 48, turned up at the club's training ground last December claiming to be offering a discounted deal on Christmas hampers.
He took card payments from a number of players and staff at the club using a chip and pin device - but then disappeared with the cash and never delivered the promised goods.
Some of those who had paid for the hampers also noticed unauthorised payments running into the thousands charged to their bank accounts.
The club's striker Andy Carroll and manager Sam Allardyce were reported to be among those who were victims of the scam.
Members of the club reported the incident to the police and Ackerman, of Loughton, was arrested in March this year.
The conman, who had used the pseudonym 'Mark Kingston', was subsequently charged with 18 counts of fraud with a total loss to victims of more than 60,000.
The charges included 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.
He was found guilty on all counts after a trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court and will be sentenced on 25 November.
Speaking after the verdict, detective sergeant Jamie Snell said Ackerman had told an "elaborate pack of lies" to convince members of the club to part with their cash.