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Couple used stolen credit card details to buy hotel stay, sex toys and other items

The defendants spent thousands of euro over a seven-day stay in the capital last December.

File photo
File photo
Image: Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland!

A COUPLE WHO were caught with “an Aladdin’s cave” worth of stolen items in a Dublin hotel room will be sentenced later this week for fraud, theft, and criminal damage.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that an analysis of Muhammed Kashif’s laptop led to the discovery of 200 pages of online chat, which involved four participants discussing the details of thousands of credit cards.

Kashif (42) and his wife Deepa Vaswani (39) used stolen credit card details to pay for €1,452 worth of toys from Smyths Toys, €161 worth of sex toys, and their six night stay in the Fitzwilliam Hotel on Stephen’s Green, costing €2,781.

Garda Cathal Feely told Ronan Kennedy BL, prosecuting, that the couple had also used stolen credit card numbers to buy flights from Dublin to New York, costing €3,592, and Dublin to Kuala Lumpur, costing €8,798.

He agreed with Mr Kennedy that when officers raided the hotel room, it was “an Aladdin’s cave” from which over 140 items were seized as potential exhibits.

These included a camera, a €4,000 watch, six mobile phones, a large amount of new clothes, and €15,000 worth of different currencies from Brazil, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Australia, Moldova, Thailand, Malaysia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The couple were caught after Barclays Bank contacted Smyths Toys to alert them to the fact that a customer’s credit card had been used fraudulently to make a large purchase at their store.

Garda Feely agreed with Mr Kennedy that Kashif “made no admissions of criminal activity” during a garda interview and claimed a friend had bought the toys.

Kashif also claimed he had employed a travel agent who had booked the couple’s flights and accommodation.

Vaswani told gardaí that she believed her husband booked the flights through a travel agent after giving the agent cash. She accepted that she had taken delivery of the toys.

Kashif and Vaswani, with an address at Surin Residence, Malaysia, both pleaded guilty to handling stolen credit card information, being reckless as to whether it was the proceeds of criminal conduct, unlawfully operating a computer with the intention of making a gain, two charges of dishonestly buying flights online, obtaining hotel accommodation using stolen payment card details, and theft from both Smyths Toys and Love Toy Shopper on dates between 1 December and 7 December, 2017.

Damage 

Kashif also pleaded guilty to criminal damage to a number of toys, including: a Lego Box; Sylvanian Families; a Barbie House; My Little Pony dolls; and a Little Live Pet.

The charge arose after he was caught damaging the packaging of the toys while in the process of opening them to store them in a larger container.

The couple have been remanded in custody since their arrest and have no previous convictions.

Kashif is originally from Pakistan, while Vaswani is from Singapore. They were living in Malaysia with their three children before they travelled to Ireland.

Keith Spencer BL, defending, told Judge Melanie Greally that his clients’ children, who are nine, seven and five years old, were being minded by two nannies in Malaysia when their parents first began travelling around Europe.

He said the children’s residency in Malaysia was dependant on their father living there too, and since his clients were remanded in custody, their residency visas have expired.

They are now being cared for by a distant relative of Vaswani, and are no longer permitted to attend school.

Counsel asked the court to consider releasing one or both of his clients from custody by suspending any sentence imposed, which would allow them to return home to sort out the family’s situation.

Worrying

He accepted that both Kashif and Vaswani were “authors of their own misfortune”, but said the situation in relation to their children was worrying.

“They are family people and want nothing more than to return to their children,” Mr Spencer said.

Spencer also told the court that Kashif said he got his laptop from a friend and accepted that “the motivation behind his crime was greed”.

Kennedy drew Judge Greally’s attention to the fact that a letter handed up on the couple’s behalf in relation to their children’s education referred to a school in Singapore.

He said Spencer had never mentioned the family having any connection to Singapore.

Spencer took instructions from his clients and said that the children were hoping to attend the school in Singapore in January, before their parents’ remand in custody.

Referring to the letter, Judge Greally said it “was not consistent with what the court has been told”.

She adjourned the case until Friday to allow time for the defence to produce “something official from an independent body to confirm the position of the children.”

Comments have been closed for legal reasons.

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Sonya McClean

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