Fraudster stole £10k in debit card scam

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A fraudster from Harrogate stole almost £10,000 in a debit card scam while working as a restaurant assistant.

Student Bernard Etale, 21, abused his position working for Leeds Ramada Jarvis hotels by using hand-held debit card machines to re-direct refunds into his own bank account.

Etale also enlisted the help of a fellow student at Park Lane College in Leeds and sent fraudulent transactions into his account. Leeds Crown Court heard Etale was suspended after a financial investigation.

Etale, of Wentworth Drive, Harrogate, pleaded guilty to four offences of fraud. The court heard Kenyan-born Etale spent some of the money on luxury electrical items and IT equipment but also committed the offences out of desperation when he was forced to leave home after dropping out of college and had nowhere to live.

Judge James Spencer QC made Etale the subject of a 12 month community order and ordered him to do 200 hours unpaid work. The judge said: “You did wrong when you stole that money. There was a significant breach of trust and the sums were not insignificant.

“I am satisfied that this was done out of desperation. You are 21 years old and you were suffering instability at that time of your life.” '