Nigeria forward Osaze Odemwingie will have his stolen money, totalling around £22,000, refunded after the fraudster Claire Duke pledged in the Stafford Crown Court to pay back over £80,000 to her victims.
According to Daily Mail, the 38-year-old mother of two, whose business offered concierge services and organised holidays and trips abroad, pleaded guilty to seven counts of fraud on Wednesday, including one relating to the Stoke City striker.
Hugh O’Brien-Quinn, prosecuting, said Odemwingie had paid Duke £7,000 so she could book him flights to Miami. He added: “He paid with his debit card.
He married his fiancée in May 2012 and his future parents in law paid £7,560 to book a honeymoon.
“The defendant pocketed that money but needed to cover her tracks and book a honeymoon. So in April 2012 she used Odemwingie’s debit card details and paid £7,471.12 from that account to another company who arranged the honeymoon.
She received £1,000 commission and even handed over the tickets at the wedding reception.
“She then used Odemwingie’s card again for return flights from Eindhoven to London for a football agent priced at £325.33.”
Mr O’Brien-Quinn added: “On April 10, Andre Wisdom, a player for Liverpool FC paid £6,600 to the defendant for a flight to Jamaica. That money has disappeared.
“Again she needed to cover her tracks and used Odemwingie’s account to do so, paying £15,160.44 for flights and hotels for Mr Wisdom’s holiday to Jamaica.”
The judge told the sobbing Duke, “You appear to be someone who on the face of it is terrified of the court’s powers, and accepting that what you have done was appalling.
“You have pleaded guilty to seven matters of fraud involving professional, hard-working people wanting to spend money on holidays and treats.”
Duke, who was given a two-year custodial sentence suspended for two years, told reporters as she left the court that she was deeply sorry for the stress and upset she had caused.
“I would just like to pass on my sincere apologies to everyone,” she said.