Theophillus Madekurozwa, a credit card fraudster from Bury travelled the country spending tens of thousands of pounds on luxury goods
Theophillus Madekurozwa, 36, was today jailed for four years at Bolton Crown Court for illegally taking out credit cards in other people’s names and then using them to fuel his luxury lifestyle.
For several months, Madekurozwa had been obtaining credit cards in other people’s names by making false applications, which appeared to be genuine because they were filled out with real personal details stolen from unsecure mail boxes.
Once Madekurozwa had the credit cards, he walked in to stores and purchased high value gift cards, before moving on to other stores to spend on them – effectively laundering the money and making his purchases difficult to track.
He repeated this around the country, in Edgware, Essex, Salford, Newcastle, Leicester, Coventry, Leeds, Liverpool and many other locations. He mainly spent on iPads, iMacs and designer goods such as high-end watches.
Madekurozwa was caught after credit card company, MBNA, issued an alert to retailers about unusual spending on high-value gift vouchers. When Madekurozwa tried to buy a gift card in a Morrisons supermarket in Braintree, he was challenged by a member of staff and he panicked and immediately left the premises. However his number plate was recorded on CCTV and he was later arrested by police.
Madekurozwa’s partner Connie Manney, aged 46, of Connaught Avenue, Whitefield who is a grandmother and mother-of-five, took over the store visits, obtaining vouchers worth £900 from Selfridges.
But on April 14 this year, when she tried to buy two £100 gift vouchers from Tesco in Droylsden, staff became suspicious. She fled but was traced via a car number plate.
The case was passed to the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU) – the police unit sponsored by the banking industry – and after an extensive investigation, the full extent of his crimes were revealed, and he and Connie Manney were charged with fraud offences.
DC Andrew Lovett, the officer leading the investigation at the DCPCU, said: “Madekurozwa was a career criminal who didn’t think twice about spending other people’s money to fuel his own luxury lifestyle.
“I am delighted he is now behind bars and I hope others tempted to follow this path will now think twice.”
Daniel Chadwick, defending Madekurozwa, said his client was an alcoholic who was now trying to rehabilitate himself whilst in jail.
Jailing Madekurozwa, Recorder Bernadette Baxter told him; “In effect, your full-time job was working as a fraudster. The innocent people whose names were used doubtless had a great deal of trouble.”
Laura Barbour, defending Manney, said she was previously of good character. “She, of all people, knew this was the kind of behaviour and activity she should not have involved herself in. She is disgusted with herself,” she said.
Both Madekurozwa and Manney, aged 46, of Connaught Avenue, Whitefield, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud.
She added that Manney, who wept in the dock, had played a lesser role and had “fallen prey to temptation.”
“You, in your middle years, a mother and a grandmother should know what a poor example to your children this is,” she added.
Manney was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years and must undertake 150 hours unpaid work.
A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing has been listed to take place on May 11, 2015.