A conman from Worksop has been jailed after fleecing dozens of people to the tune of nearly £6,000 on buy-and-sell websites.
Simon Richardson, 29, of Chesterton Drive, purported to sell car parts to unwitting members of the public on Gumtree or Preloved, agreeing a deal and banking the money. But the customers never received the items and didn’t get their cash back either.
Richardson was sent to prison for ten months after pleading guilty at Nottingham Crown Court to 12 counts of fraud and asking for 29 similar matters to be taken into consideration.
The judge, Recorder Nigel Daly, told him: “This was mean offending. Taking money from people, who trusted a particular system, and abusing that system. It went on for a long time, and there were a large number of victims.”
Jon Fountain, prosecuting, said Richardson’s “naive and incompetent” operation began in August 2014 and continued until May 2015.
“It started when he posted an advert on Gumtree, saying he had a double seat for a VW transporter for sale,” said Mr Fountain.
“The advert was seen by Darren Gale, who agreed to buy it for £260, which was transferred to Richardson’s bank account. However, Mr Gale never received the seat.”
Mr Fountain said a similar modus operandi was followed in many more fake transactions, although at one stage Richardson began to use alias names and had money placed in his sister’s account instead.
“Invariably, he asked the money to paid by bank transfer, rather than PayPal, because it ensured he would get the money immediately and the buyers got no protection or recourse after being fleeced,” said the barrister.
In total, Richardson made £5,853 from a total of 41 complainants who “suffered not only monetary loss but also frustration and inconvenience”, the court heard.
Other victims named in the charges includes Joseph McIloney, Christopher Wood, Nigel Creed, Jamie McConnell, Paul Shaw, Roger Watson, Ashley Johnson, Dominic and Angelo Carrino, Hazel McWilliams, Terrence Bowden and Alan Hedge.
Other items Richardson pretended to sell included a motorcycle engine, parts and wheels for a Ford Transit van, car seats, gearboxes and engines for cars and vans.
His barrister, Martin Elwick, mitigating, said: “He was always going to be caught because the audit trail was always going to lead to him.
“But the reason he got involved in such an enterprise is because he got laid off from his job and he needed to continue paying his estranged partner in order to keep seeing his three children, who are all under the age of ten.
“On a positive note, he is now back in full-time employment as a painter and decorator, and he has come to an understanding with his former partner.”