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Failed footballer jailed after Kakuta impersonation

ESPN staff
October 22, 2014
Chelsea midfielder Gael Kakuta is on loan at Rayo Vallecano © Getty Images
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A failed footballer who enjoyed a champagne lifestyle by pretending to be a Premier League star has been jailed for four years for £163,000 worth of fraud.

Medi Abalimba, 25, at one stage earned around £20,000 a week with Derby County, but slipped down the leagues.

He continued living the high life by passing himself off as Chelsea player Gael Kakuta, staying in the best rooms in the finest hotels in London, running up bar tabs of thousands of pounds and being chauffeur-driven around in a Bentley, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Abalimba would enter nightclubs, pre-warned that a VIP was on the way, accompanied by an "entourage" of drivers, bodyguards and sometimes young women, blowing thousands of pounds in champagne at the bar, paid for using stolen credit card details.

He had stints as a professional player with Derby, Oldham Athletic, Southend United, Fulham and Crystal Palace and once commanded a transfer fee of more than one million pounds.

On Wednesday, he is starting a four-year jail term after admitting 12 offences of fraud and dishonesty, in London, West Yorkshire, Manchester and Derby. He had 19 other offences taken into consideration, totalling a loss to those defrauded of £163,000.

Jailing Abalima, Judge Robert Atherton told him: "There is here a catalogue of offences of sophisticated dishonesty, fraudulently representing that you were a person who you were not."

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