A MOBILE phone salesman could face prison after committing fraud worth more than £20,000 by creating dozens of fake customers.
Alexander Papadatos made up 46 fake customers at the 3 Store in Commercial Road, Portsmouth, to enable him to carry out the fraud between December last year and April this year.
Fareham Magistrates’ Court heard how Papadatos had discovered a way to override the company’s automated system to create the fake customers, then gave them free upgrades, but kept the new handsets.
The 20-year-old, who worked at the store as a sales assistant, then sold the phones on through the internet and to friends.
He admitted making £13,000 for himself.
He was eventually caught in April after a company security check revealed the fraud.
He had admitted what he had done when he was interviewed by senior staff from 3 and later when he was interviewed by police on the company premises.
But the retail value of the phones to his employers was put at the much larger figure of £20,287.
Papadatos pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by abuse of position at an earlier hearing.
Prosecutor Huw Morgan said: ‘These phones were sold on so there was no chance of them being recovered by the store.’
A previous hearing was told how the fraud had been carefully planned and had been a serious abuse of trust.
And the crown’s prosecutor also said that if Papadatos, of Albion Close in Portchester, had not been caught the fraud could still be going on.
Papadatos claimed he had needed the money to pay off debts and that the money was now gone.
Bill Charlton, defending, said: ‘On the last occasion the figure referred to was £13,800, but the actual cost of these phones if the company concerned bought them and were to sell them on, it would have been in excess of £20,000.
‘It’s fair to say he did admit the offence at the first opportunity and he was very co-operative with the police.’
Because of the high value of the fraud, the magistrates had to consider whether they had great enough sentencing powers to adequately deal with Papadatos.
Magistrates’ courts can only make orders for a maximum of £5,000 compensation.
After a short deliberation, chairman Dr Nancy North addressed Papadatos and said: ‘You have heard what’s been said and because of the increased rate we have looked very carefully at our sentencing guidelines.
‘Because of our limited potential sentencing powers we are committing you to crown court for sentencing.
‘Because the offences are so serious, it warrants a greater punishment than we can give.’
Papadatos will appear before a judge at Portsmouth Crown Court for sentencing later this month.
He does not have any previous convictions.