Chapel man admits £1.5k fraud

A 25-year-old man, who set up a false eBay account and ‘sold’ a ring for more than £1,500 but did not send it to the buyer, will have to pay compensation, a court has ruled.

Matthew Jack Baker of Sea Road, Chapel St Leonards, admitted fraud when he appeared at Skegness Magistrates’ Court.

Paul Wood, prosecuting, said that Baker set up the eBay account in his father-in-law’s name and advertised the ring.

On July 27, 2011, a Ms Beverley Reynolds successfully bid £1,550 for the ring and offered to pay through the secure site PayPal, but received an email from the seller, asking her to pay by bank transfer direct to his ‘nephew’ M J Baker and reduced the cost to £1,450.

When she did not get the ring, Ms Reynolds tried to contact the seller, but without success despite being given his phone number by eBay.

After he was seen by police almost a year later, he admitted he had set up a false account because he was short of money and needed to buy things for his new baby.

In mitigation, Dave Clapham said it was not a sophisticated fraud but he questioned why it had taken a year for the police to contact Baker when they had his name and phone number.

The magistrates imposed an 18 month community order and ordered him to pay £1,450 in compensation.