Amateur St Albans sleuths track down credit card fraudster

Darrell Rabess

Darrell Rabess - Credit: Photographic Synergy

Two determined St Albans businessmen turned sleuths when they helped police track down a credit card fraudster who had swindled money from them.

Richard Marrett, general manager of St Michael’s Manor Hotel in Fishpool Street, St Albans, and Matt Fisher, of Photographic Synergy in Coursers Road, London Colney, joined forces to find bodybuilder Darrell Rabess who had paid for their services using stolen credit card details.

Both businesses received a letter from their credit card companies informing them of the fraud. Matt noticed the hotel’s name on the list of companies affected and contacted Richard.

Using pictures taken of Rabess during a photo shoot, staff at Synergy worked together examining social networking and other websites, to establish the identity of the man.

Matt, a former special police officer, said: “It was quite obvious he was a body builder. Richard talked to a community bobby, who popped into the hotel, and I went down there to speak to them both and make a formal statement.”

Rabess’s images can be seen on Facebook and Twitter, where he recently boasted about appearing as a a prison visitor in an edition of EastEnders.

Rabess, 28, of Gainswood, Welwyn Garden City, pleaded guilty last month in Stevenage Magistrates’ Court to six charges of committing fraud by paying for services using stolen credit card details between August 9 and December 7 last year.

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They included teeth whitening, vacuum therapy (slimming aid) and graphic design work.

Rabess was sentenced to pay a total £3,226.84 in costs,including a £60 victim surcharge, £85 to the Crown Prosecution Service, and £1,186.84 compensation costs to St Michael’s Manor and £495 to Synergy.

He was also sentenced to carry out unpaid work for 150 hours within the next 12 months.

After the sentencing both Richard and Matt said they were pleased with the sentencing, particularly the hundreds of hours of unpaid community work Rabess must carry out.