Evening Telegraph (First Edition)
Guest tried to con £13k out of hotel
A “PRIVILEGED” tourist who tried to swindle a Perth hotel out of £13,000 has “turned his life around” and plans to open a string of coffee shops, a court heard.
Fraudster Dillon Anandarajan repeatedly distracted a receptionist at the Holiday Inn Express on Dunkeld Road and used her card terminal to issue thousands of pounds worth of “refunds” to his own account.
Perth Sheriff Court heard that police were alerted the next day when the hotel manager noticed a series of suspicious transactions.
The 28-year-old, from Greenwich, London, admitted a charge of attempted fraud during a stop-over at the hotel on October 13 2020.
He was said to be in the grip of a gambling addiction at the time.
Sheriff Gillian Wade told him: “You come from a very privileged background and you’ve had a good education. You are obviously a very intelligent man who has done well in business. You have a lot to offer society.
“Yet you ended up in a situation where you ended up on indictment. This is a serious offence.”
The sheriff ordered Anandarajan to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and placed him on supervision for 18 months. She warned that if he did not comply, he could be jailed.
The court heard how Anandarajan pretended to the hotel receptionist he needed to use the card terminal to make a virtual payment.
Instead of entering the £75 price for the overnight stay, Anandarajan surreptitiously changed the figure to £175 and then pointed out he had been “accidentally overcharged”.
When the receptionist confirmed he had been charged too much, she carried out the refund process to send £100 to his card.
Anandarajan carefully watched what she was doing, including noting the special code number she entered into the machine to facilitate a card refund.
During the remainder of the evening, he repeatedly went to the reception with requests for things he required from the hotel.
These were designed to make the employee leave the reception area unattended, at which point Anandarajan took the card terminal and issued further “refunds” to himself.
Fiscal depute David Currie said: “All of the money that was refunded was stopped and did not end up in the accused’s bank account.
“Matters came to a head the next day, when the hotel manager noticed this substantial refund that was being made.”
Solicitor Paul Ralph, defending, said: “He has reflected on this and he is taking a different course in life. He is now opening up some new businesses – coffee shops in particular.”
Mr Ralph said: “There is no explanation for why he took this chance. He did have a gambling issue.”