Honiton woman ordered to pay back fraud victims

A HONITON woman who made hundreds of pounds from selling non-existent goods on eBay has been ordered to repay the money to her victims.

Kay May Huntley, 30, received a total of �607 after advertising computer hardware on the auction site on five separate occasions from April to November of last year.

Huntley, of Queen Street, pleaded guilty to the five charges of fraud at Central Devon Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard Huntley had sold a Nintento Wii on the website on April 14 of last year, and asked the payee not to use PayPal, but to pay the money directly into her Halifax bank account.

The payee contacted Huntley after he did not receive the item and was told she had posted it. The payee then reported the matter to the police.

On May 14 of last year, she sold another Nintento wii under the seller’s name Katie Pixie ’74, and �126 was paid into the same bank account.

On November 4 of last year, she sold a Nintendo DS for �100; on April 26 of flast year, she sold a Wii Fit at �112 – and there were two separate ‘winners’.

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Huntley was arrested on September 29 of last year and interviewed at Honiton police station with regard to the first two charges on April 14 and May 14.

During the interview, she admitted she had received the money, but said she had sent the items by recorded delivery. She added she had bought the goods from a warehouse in Bristol, but was unable to produce receipts.

She was released on bail and asked to present the said receipts - but in that time there were more complaints to the police and she was arrested in January of this year for further offences.

She later admitted there was no warehouse, that the goods were never sent, and that the user identity from which the goods were advertised were all hers.

The court heard she had had financial difficulties and intended to pay the money back when she was able to.

The court was told she had previous convictions of a similar nature, including two matters of obtaining property by deception in 2002, and using a forged instrument in 2007.

In defence, James Rickard said: “The monies that were obtained in respect to these items are available and can be paid in full. That they haven’t been paid up until now Is something I will explain in due course, but my client assures me the money of some �600 is available.”

He said she had been an eBay trader and had successfully traded items, such as computer games, for �10 to �20 profit, and were obtained when the money was sent to her.

He said: “In this complex world of trading money, people sell things they’re not in possession of. Where things went wrong on this occasion is to the assurances of delivery.”

He added: “It occurred at a time when she was in financial difficulty. The amount of profit as not great and money will be paid sooner rather than later.

“It was not motivated by greed. We are not talking about a huge amount of profit or particularly vulnerable victims.

“We are dealing with people who are, understandably, very annoyed with the circumstances, who will be repaid.”

Huntley was given 10 per cent credit for her late guilty plea.

The court heard she was working as a waitress at Sandy Bay and earned �160 per week, and was now living with her parents due to financial reasons.

She was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work, compensate her victims, and pay �300 in costs.