The owner of a plush riverside restaurant has admitted defrauding Gravesham council taxpayers of £57,000.
Anastasia Zinkevich, who runs the Riva Waterside Restaurant and Bar, in Gravesend, admitted fraud.
Maidstone Crown Court heard the 35-year-old, of Wrotham Road, Gravesend, used 65 credit cards without the authorisation of the card holder to pay off her bills.
Gravesend Riva Bar owner Anastasia Zinkevich
They were used to make 162 separate payments covering debts to Gravesham council from insurance, rent, business rates and trade waste removal.
Zinkevich admitted one charge of fraud at Maidstone Crown Court on Thursday, September 26. A second fraud charge was left on the court file.
Warrants were issued for the arrest of two others also charged with fraud in connection with the case on August 30.
They are Andrius Kimbirauskas, 27, of Chestnut Close, Northfleet, and Inesa Kamarauskiene, 32, of the same address.
Investigations began when Gravesham council started to have an unusually high number of charge backs – when card providers recall monies they believe have been paid fraudulently.
The serious economic crime unit at Kent Police was called in and there was an early-morning raid on Zinkevich's home on December 13, 2012.
Evidence - including mobile phones used for payment and CCTV footage showing her making payments at the Civic Centre - was uncovered showing Zinkevich had been using credit cards that did not belong to her.
She had been using them to pay Gravesham council its business and domestic bills.
Riva riverside restaurant and bar in Gravesend
Zinkevich had, as a result, caused a loss to the taxpayer of more than £57,000 between June 2011 and December 2012.
All of the money has now been repaid to the authority.
The Riva Waterside Restaurant and Bar, at Town Pier, in West Street, opened in 2009.
"She may have thought she was getting away with it until we knocked on her door, but the overwhelming evidence against her left her no choice but to own up to her deceit..." - DC Mark Agnew
It is run by Culinary Solutions, which has a 125-year lease. Zinkevich, who previously worked at top London restaurants, is a director.
The riverside restaurant is on the oldest cast iron pier in the world. On its website the restaurant, which remains open, is described as offering customers views as "breathtaking as the cuisine".
Overlooking the Thames it is also said to offer "fine modern Mediterranean cuisine served in a relaxing atmosphere".
The court will have the power to revoke Zinkevich's personal licence to run a pub, though Riva has another employee who has a licence – a prerequisite to becoming a designated premise supervisor.
None of the cards used belonged to customers and Gravesham council has since tightened up its procedures.
Zinkevich is due to be sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court during the week of October 28.
The plush interior of Anastasia Zinkevich riverside restaurant
DC Mark Agnew, of the Kent Police Serious Economic Crime Unit, said: "Investigations like this involve a long, painstaking process of going back through records and accounts to find discrepancies and incidents of fraud.
"Our investigators quickly built up a file proving Zinkevich had been shamelessly defrauding the taxpayer and Gravesham council.
"She may have thought she was getting away with it until we knocked on her door, but the overwhelming evidence against her left her no choice but to own up to her deceit."
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