Woodford Green man’s sentence after part in champagne fraud

An unemployed Woodford Green man who was caught collecting more than �30,000 worth of vintage champagne for a credit card fraudster escaped a prison sentence today

.

Mehmet Elitemiz, 55, of Vicarage Road, accepted �100 to collect 27 cases of Dom Perignon and Louis Rodero by unknown fraudsters.

The booze had been bought from a five star resort in Portugal, the

Dunas Douradas Beach Club Hotel, using a skimmed American Express credit card belonging to an American businessman.

Elitmiz was arrested in an alleyway in Wood Green, north London while loading the bottles into his Mitsubishi Space Wagon by an undercover police officer posing as the DHL driver who delivered them to him.

Prosecutor Nicholas Mathers told the court the champagne, which can sell for hundreds of pounds a bottle, cost �30,309.

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Officers investigating the fraud believe the champagne was destined for the black market, and be sold for a discount to West End bars and clubs - where punters can expect to pay up to �1,000 per bottle.

Elitemiz, a father-of-two, denied any wrongdoing but was found guilty after trial.

Handing him a 12-month community order, Judge Brian Barker said: “I have no doubt that you knew perfectly well what you were doing and that you were part of a chain.

“This was a serious matter, I don’t think you know the seriousness of it.”

Judge Barker said he could spare Elitemiz jail as this was his first offence and he was a single parent.

He will also have to do 80 hours unpaid work.

Elitemiz denied a charge of becoming concerned in a money laundering agreement.