Footballer-turned-catfisher swindled Love Island's Georgia SteelNovember 5, 2023
How failed footballer-turned-catfisher swindled Love Island star Georgia Steel and Thierry Henry’s ex-wife out of thousands of pounds by posing as a US Government agent before his web of lies finally unravelled
- Medi Abalimba, 34, charmed his way into Georgia’s life to steal £32,000
- Claire Henry conned out of £50,000-plus when he raided her bank account
- ITV true-crime drama The Football Fraudster details how he swindled victims
A failed footballer-turned-catfisher swindled Love Island star Georgia Steel and Thierry Henry’s ex-wife out of thousands of pounds before his web of lies finally unravelled.
Medi Abalimba was once a promising £1.2million footballer but when the light on his career went out without much of a whimper and with with a taste for luxury he extraordinarily turned to a life of crime.
The conman put on the charm and spoke with a smooth American accent as he weaved his way into brunette beauty and Love Island star Georgia’s life by posing as a US Government agent ‘Miguel Johnson’ when he met the brunette beauty at a London nightclub in April 2019.
Over the next six weeks he wined and dined Georgia by taking her to swanky restaurants in his chauffeur-driven Range Rover, and the shameless swindler even met her family at her 21st birthday party.
But their six-week relationship came to an abrupt end when Abalimba’s picture was published online of the pair outside a bar in the capital and her manager told her that he was really a convicted fraudster.
How he managed to swindle his way into Georgia’s life will be detailed in ITV’s new true-crime drama series Cons And Swindles: The Football Fraudster, which airs next Thursday.
Medi Alabimba, now aged 34, targeted Love Island star Georgia Steel in 2019 and posed as US Government agent ‘Miguel Johnson’ to worm his way into her life
Abalimba had only been released from prison for a year when he spent around £32,000 on her credit cards, leaving Georgia to be physically sick
Abalimba had only been released from prison for a year when he targeted the Love Island star and spent around £32,000 on her credit cards, leaving Georgia to be physically sick.
READ MORE: Ex-footballer who dated Love Island’s Georgia Steel is jailed for fleecing Thierry Henry’s model ex-wife in £160,000 scam after lying to her that he was a US Navy Seal
Speaking to The Sun, Georgia said he had ‘fooled everyone’ and it left her father feeling guilty and feeling like he had let her down.
‘It was a complete shock,’ she said. ‘I didn’t know who this person I’d let into my life was or what he was capable of.’
She added: ‘He was looking for targets. I was 20 and living alone in London, as my family were in Doncaster.
‘I didn’t realise then, but I was vulnerable. I was getting lots of attention and was away from the people I trusted. He exploited that.’
Abalimba, now aged 34, was arrested in September 2019 but by then he had already moved onto his next victim and swooned Thierry Henry’s ex-wife and model Claire Henry by pretending to be a US Navy Seal.
He was jailed a month later for breaching his conditions of his release on licence but fed Claire a lie that he had been called back to Kuwait on military service.
Abalimba was arrested in September 2019 but he had already moved onto his next victim Claire Henry (pictured). He raided more than £50,000 from her bank account
Ms Henry – also known as Nicole Merry – is the mother of Arsenal legend Thierry Henry’s first child and their five-year marriage ended in 2008
Abalimba admitted 15 counts of fraud and was jailed for four years in 2021. How he manged to swindle his victims will be explored in new ITV true-crime drama series The Football Fraudster
They spoke on the phone every day for the next four months.
He conned Claire out of more than £50,000 after raiding her Coutts and HSBC accounts to stay at the Corinthia Hotel in Westminster.
Bills at the Corinthia and membership for Dubai’s Al Habtoor Polo Resort cost Ms Henry £38,839.11, while Abalimba spent another £13,000 on ‘general expenditure’.
READ MORE: Love Island’s Georgia Steel looks glam in a plunging white mini dress as she steps out for the first time since her conman ex Medi Abalimba was sent back to prison
‘Charming’ Abalimba met Claire – who is known for starring in Renault’s ‘va va voom’ adverts – at the Soho House private members’ club in central London and told her his name was Miguel Johnson, a Navy Seal.
The former Derby County, Oldham Athletic, Fulham, and Crystal Palace player would ask her to pay for things and make her feel sorry for him when she asked for the money back.
When she noticed money starting to disappear from her account she tried to end their relationship, but Abalimba put of a ‘full performance of hysteria’ and said his grandfather had died.
She had ‘genuine feelings of love’ for Abalimba, whose name ‘she didn’t even know’.
He admitted 15 counts of fraud and confessed to using a forged Illinois driving licence and fake debit card in the name ‘M J Gonzalez Business’. He was jailed for four years and two months.
Abalimba had previously been jailed in 2014 for four years after posing as former Chelsea player Gael Kakuta in an almost identical scam.
He used the former Premier League player’s identity to run up tabs at five-star hotels, fancy nightclubs and luxury shops around the country.
Abalimba would then make excuses or produce stolen credit cards when asked to settle the bill.
He then ran up a £104,000 bill at the plush Rosewood Hotel in central London.
He used another man’s card to spend more than £10,000 at the five-star Rosewood which had been altered to show the name ‘Miguel Gonzalez’.
He also posed as a wealthy guest to persuade a concierge to spend £104,911 at the Rosewood Hotel on his behalf.
Abalimba at the time of his arrest in 2014. He was later jailed for four years after posing as former Chelsea player Gael Kakuta in an almost identical scam
He used the former Premier League player’s identity to run up tabs at five-star hotels, fancy nightclubs and luxury shops around the country
The fraudster then lied to another man that he could pay him back if he spent over £1,250 to rent a Range Rover for him.
He ran up a £5,000 bar tab at Manchester’s Club Liv, splashing out up to £500 on two a bottles of champagne and £200-a-bottle Dom Perignon before using the nightclubs backdoor to step into the awaiting chauffeur-driven silver Bentley.
Abalimba took four girls from Manchester on an £1,100 helicopter tour over London before having them stay with him at an £800 a night rented mansion in Berkshire, which he claimed was his home.
He tried to spend around £28,000 on clothes at Selfridges, in Manchester, including a £765 pair of shoes, £575 shirt and £3,950 earrings for his mother.
- Watch Cons And Swindles: The Football Fraudster, Thursday, ITVX.
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