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Celebrity football catfisher 'cons ANOTHER victim' after prison release

  /  autty

Convicted football fraudster Medi Abalimba has been accused of trying to steal money from an American nurse he allegedly wooed by pretending he played for Chelsea - just months after he was released from prison, MailOnline can reveal today.

The whereabouts of Abalimba, 34, had been unknown since an ITV documentary aired last November about the fraudster who conned Love Island's Georgia Steel and Thierry Henry's ex-wife out of tens of thousands of pounds.

Abalimba was jailed for four years in 2014 after impersonating ex Chelsea footballer Gael Kakuta to fund a flash lifestyle.

He was then jailed again in 2021 for four years and two months after he admitted 15 counts of fraud in which he plundered the bank accounts of model Chloe Henry after claiming to be a US Navy Seal in a £160,000 scam.

The Ministry of Justice confirmed to MailOnline Abalimba is no longer in custody.

But MailOnline can reveal it has been alleged he has been hanging around the £400-a-night Marriott hotel in swanky Mayfair in a £190,000 Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

Last month he was snapped in Malaga, southern Spain, where it is claimed he tried to steal more than $1,000 from Zhane Wright's credit card, an ordeal that left the nurse feeling terrified.

The 29-year-old believed his name was 'Gyle' but became spooked when she uncovered his true identity after she found a picture of his passport at the four-star hotel Anahita Boutique where they had been staying.

Miss Wright exclusively told MailOnline she got an alert on her phone hours earlier that an attempt had been made to take $1,318.68 from her credit card. A total of $445.06 was withdrawn from her bank account. Abalimba was not in the room at the time and she fears he is to blame for the attempted raid on her account.

MailOnline attempted to contact Abalimba on the two mobile phone numbers provided to us. One rang twice before a message said the number was currently unavailable, while we have left a voicemail message on the other.

Miss Wright discovered her cards went missing one evening while the pair were on the romantic break, but claims they reappeared again after the swindler returned.

She hurriedly packed her belongings and scarpered barefooted from the hotel in an Uber in the dead of night, leaving Abalimba snoring in bed as she jetted back to London where she reported what had happened to Scotland Yard.

The Met Police has confirmed to MailOnline there has been an allegation of an unsuccessful attempt of theft from a credit card in Spain.

The force did not confirm the allegation was made against Abalimba when asked by this publication.

MailOnline has had sight of emails, the withdrawn amounts from Miss Wright's bank account, and has seen some private WhatsApp messages between the pair to corroborate the allegations.

Miss Wright, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, first locked eyes with Abalimba in August last year outside the London Marriott hotel in Grosvenor Square ahead of a night out with a friend.

When she returned to the hotel a valet handed her a yellow Post-It note, seen by MailOnline, which had a mobile phone number written in black biro and 'Gyle Chelsea football player'.

'I remember he wasn’t ugly, I guess he was checking me out. I was on the phone my friend was with me and said he was a good looking guy. I Googled what Chelsea was and saw it was a soccer team,' she says.

'I feel like not in a sense of dating somebody [it impressed me], but being financially stable yes. I'm not an ugly girl and I have had a bad encounter with an American athlete before.'

What followed, she says, was months of chats over the phone with Abalimba who spoke in a French accent, in which he told her the mother of his two children had died, and continually broke promises to meet up with her in Los Angeles, Paris, and New York.

Last month, having returned to London for a modelling audition in Manchester, the young nurse decided to contact Abalimba believing he lived in a Mayfair townhouse.

But he told her he 'was in Malaga getting treatment from a specialist for a knee injury' and told her he would book her a ticket to fly over.

In the end she paid the £150 ticket herself as she says he told her the airline wanted to see his card when he arrived at the airport and promised to pay her back.

She took a Ryanair flight to the Spanish tourist city where he greeted her moments after her plane touched the tarmac, and the pair were finally able to speak to each other face-to-face for the first time.

While out there they 'went out on dates' to restaurants eating pizza and drinking cocktails, cuddled in bed, and snuggled up together on a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride along the beachfront.

'I thought I like this guy, he is a normal guy I'm enjoying this,' she said. 'I'm in Spain it's nice weather we are having a good time and we are finally spending time together.

'We are going out to eat, having drinks and having good conversation. I thought he was a nice guy, attractive... I could see myself taking this guy seriously.'

But things turned sinister on the evening of January 14. Having eaten food at the hotel, she claims he told her he had to 'go comfort his friend' as his 'girlfriend had just committed suicide' and offered her to go with him.

Miss Wright opted to stay at the hotel and fell asleep. She woke at 2am where she spotted a 'fraudulent activity' email in her inbox which said there had been a failed attempt to withdraw $1,318.68 from her Bank of America platinum credit card in Malaga.

She later found $445.06 had been withdrawn from her bank account. At this point she discovered her cards were missing and she says she messaged Abalimba to ask him where he was.

He walked back through the door of their hotel room and she says told her he would need to fly back to Paris the next day with his friend and ushered her back to bed.

Within five minutes Miss Wright says he fell asleep 'snoring' and, 'fearing something wasn't right', she crawled out of bed to check her bag where she discovered her cards had reappeared.

Confused and scared, she looked at his phone to try and find out if he had attempted to use her cards - which is when she uncovered a photo of a passport which showed a picture of his face and the name 'Medi Abalimba'.

She Googled his name where she finally discovered who he really was and his dark past.

The terrified nurse contacted her friend in a panic and hurriedly got her stuff together, ran from the hotel barefooted and got in an Uber to the airport.

'I'm just thinking I'll buy a flight when I get to the airport because I'm scared and I just want to get out of here,' she said.

Miss Wright had a nervous five hour wait for the next available flight to London Gatwick at 10am, fearing he would turn up at any moment.

While sitting in the airport a message pinged up on her phone from Abalimba using another number asking her where she was, which she says she instantly deleted and blocked.

'It made me feel really scared, even my mum was checking in on me and asking me to send me this guy's picture,' Miss Wright said.

'I've never had that experience like this before but now... I haven't even told my mum what happened.

'Even though I know it's a once in a lifetime thing but it did kind of wake me up.

'The next time I have a gut feeling that something isn't right... and maybe I shouldn't go... I'll listen to that gut feeling. There was a bunch of red flags I should have just blocked this guy and never talk to him again.

'I think I was being too nice and giving him the benefit of the doubt.'

Miss Wright claims Abalimba lied to her about his life in order to manipulate her.

'I think he's very good at manipulation and making it seem like he's a normal person - he dresses like a normal person and speaks like he has a normal life.

'I don't know, but it'll never happen again.'

She briefly heard from him again when she set up an Instagram account to try and warn others about him, but she has since deleted the account.

Related: Chelsea