‘Identity thieves’ busted in $40 000 hotel binge

Two alleged fraudsters appeared in court on allegations of  intentionally misleading Cresta Lodge hotel through using fake identities and stolen bank cards prejudicing the hotel of US$40 000

Everton Tonderai Changarama (25) and Mistopher Ncube (35) appeared before a Harare magistrate Barbra Mateko and were released on $300 bail coupled with stringent conditions including surrendering their passports.

Changarama is based in South Africa where he is  a taxi operator in Cape Town while Ncube is a music promoter.

The matter was postponed to August 8.

Allegations are that FBC Holdings being represented by its group security manager Ndabezinhle Moyo  received  information from an informer to the effect that Ncube and Changarama were booked at Cresta Lodges and on a spending spree.

 A visit to Cresta Lodges on June 25 established that  Changarama was using a false name Joel Letsi.

He used a  Lesotho national identity document t check at Cresta Lodges and booked four rooms for three nights.

Changarama went on and then paid US$16 000 for the bookings  using DNB BANK Asa-Oslo Norway Visa card  through Card Not Present payment facility which was facilitated by FBC Bank Point of Sale (POS) machine.

Further, on June 29, Ncube paid for food consumed at the hotel where US$600 using the Westpac banking corporation-Sydney NS Australia Visa card whose owner is yet to be established and later on June 30, Changarama and Ncube also paid for the extension of their bookings at the same Card Not Present facility for US$1 800.

They used Banque Federative Du Credit  Mutuel-Strasboug France visa card belonging to Thomas Marie, a French national and verifications were made with issuers of the used card numbers through FBC Bank and it was discovered that the bearers of the cards did not approve the said transactions made by Ncube and Changama leading to their arrest on July 2.

Upon arrest it was discovered that the accused persons action made the complaint to suffer a prejudice of US$40 0000 as the visa card company will effect a charge back for the transacted funds on their nostro account.