Serial fraudster used dating agencies to lure women for hotel scam

A serial fraudster lured women from dating agencies back to his hotel with the promise of two nights with him then disappeared after one night without paying the bill, Dundee Sheriff Court heard.

Orkney man Duncan Flett booked the hotel through a business credit card in another name, telling hotel staff his boss was picking up the tab.

Flett, 42, who has dozens of previous convictions for similar scams, was only caught after a Dundee woman left her overnight bag in his room after the first night, aiming to return to the hotel to spend a second night with the man she thought was Ian Anderson.

Flett, of King Harald Kloss in Kirkwall, was jailed for six months by Sheriff Elizabeth Munro on Thursday after admitting that between September 22 and 24, 2013, at the Hilton Double Tree Hotel, he obtained board and lodging to the value of £345 which he did not intend paying for.

Depute fiscal Keith Robertson said the woman had arranged to meet with the accused, who told her his name was Ian Anderson, and he had reserved a room for two nights bed and breakfast in that name.

Mr Robertson said it appeared to be legitimate and normal practice for the hotel to accept business bookings through a company credit card in different names.

He said that on September 22 he carried out the check-in procedure and told a staff member his partner was to be staying as well.

He said the couple had a few drinks which were charged to the room and they stayed overnight.

Mr Robertson said the accused told the woman they would meet again the following night and, thinking that she would be staying in the same room, she left her luggage and went to work.

After work, he said: “She waited outside but he didn’t turn up and she went back to the hotel to get her luggage.

“She approached the hotel staff and asked for Ian Anderson but they told her they had no one there by that name.”

However, the manager checked the room the following morning and it was empty save for the woman’s luggage and property.

Police were contacted and the hotel was later told that the credit card used was a “compromised card”.

Inquiries were made and Flett was arrested in Inverness.

Sheriff Munro said looking at his record he “must have been a prime suspect,” and added: “It’s unbelievable.”

Solicitor Larry Flynn agreed and said: “It’s a wonder every hotel in the country doesn’t have his photograph up in the reception desk.”

He added there was a warrant outstanding for his arrest from Edinburgh and said Flett had been in prison several times before for similar offences.”

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