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Auckland Internet Fraudster Gets Jail

Friday 26 May 2006

Auckland Internet Fraudster Gets Jail

A 19 year old Auckland man was sentenced to 2 years 11 months jail today after being convicted of multiple counts of fraud and accessing a computer for dishonest purposes in a complex crime that targeted consumers, banks and Trade Me members.

Trade Me’s fraud team commenced an investigation in early January 2005 following a number of suspicious trades over the Christmas/New Year period

“Early in January our investigation team identified a prime suspect and put together a prosecution case. We then lodged the file with the Avondale Police who consequently served a search warrant,” said Michael O’Donnell, Trade Me Regulatory Manager.

After challenging the charges for almost a year the offender Mark Hayes changed his plea to guilty the day before the trial was due to commence.

“We are pleased with the conviction and sentence – we believe it’s the heaviest sentence ever delivered under Section 249 of the Crimes Act”.

“Fraudsters leave deep footprints on Trade Me and we’re committed to prosecuting them with the full vigour of the law. Today is clear evidence of that along with the Police’s determination in these matters”.

“It’s good to see the recently amended Section 249 of the Crimes Act being used effectively against cyber criminals and delivering stiffer penalties than traditional fraud.”

Trade Me praised the efforts of the Avondale Police.

“The Police did a great job in apprehending the offender, piecing together a complex crime and bringing him to Justice. We were particularly impressed with their ability to get on top of a fairly sophisticated eFraud very quickly.”

The case reinforces the import of never providing secure information through a publicly accessible computer.


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