In what seems like an Indian version of the story of Anna Delvey, AKA the fake German heiress, a man has managed to dupe luxury hotel Leela Palace in Delhi of over Rs 23 lakh. The man identified as Md Sharif posed as an employee of the UAE royal family, stayed at the luxury hotel for months, and fled without paying the bills.
Sounds ludicrous? This is how it happened:
- The accused stayed at the five-star hotel in New Delhi from August 1, 2022, to November 20, 2022.
- He ran off on November 20 last year without informing the staff.
- He also allegedly stole silverware and other items from the hotel room.
- Everything put together, Leela Palace claims the man left Rs 23,46,413 outstanding in bills.
One of our in-house guests… has run off from the hotel on 20th November 2022 with valuables and also without settling his outstanding bills… and has cheated The Leela Palace New Delhi of amount worth INR 23,46,413/-.
- The FIR reads
- The total bill of the room he stayed in and the amenities he used, added up to Rs 35 lakh.
- But the accused paid part of the bill of about Rs 11.5 lakh in August-September 2022.
- He then handed over a cheque of Rs 20 lakh in November to the hotel staff, which came back bounced due to insufficient funds.
- He had left the hotel by then.
- Now, the police are on the lookout for the man.
The guest checked into the hotel with a fake business card and had impersonated as an important functionary of the government of the United Arab Emirates...
How did the man pretend to be a UAE royal family employee? The hotel says Md Sharif gave them a fake business card, a fake residential card, and other documents.
- The hotel is only now realising that the documents were fake.
- According to Leela Palace New Delhi, Sharif claimed to be working in the Office of Sheikh Falah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family.
- He would also often tell the hotel staff about stories of working with the royal family to gain their trust.
This story of Md Sharif seems too similar to that of Anna Delvey/Sorokin, who managed to fool the ultra-wealthy of New York and even stayed in some of the most expensive hotels in the city without paying any bills.
After hearing such stories, anybody would be bugged by the question of how it's even possible.
- Usually, in any hotel, you pay during check-out.
- While checking in you might usually just show your ID card proof and some high-end hotels may place a temporary hold on your credit card, which is sent through or released depending on the expenses incurred.
- So, placing a certain amount on your credit card on hold (without charging it) is based solely on the discretion of the hotel staff (yes, it's depending on how you look to them).
In the case of Anna Delvey/Sorokin, the Netflix show Inventing Anna showed how the fake German heiress would take loans and cash them out. Then use that cash to tip the hotel staff generously, mostly handing out $100 bills for little tasks.
This usually created a rich girl persona around Anna and even convinced one of the hotel concierges (who kinda became her friend) Neff Davis to get her on the most exclusive of events and lists.
We suggest you don't pull any of these creative ideas to stay at luxury hotels. Or you will land up in the worst room possible - jail.