Gumtree used to scam victims of cash and goods

HORSE enthusiast Rene Richardson was tearful when the reality of her Gumtree fraud offences struck this week.

Her crimes involved taking horse gear, a horse float, a trail bike, and selling concert tickets she didn't have.

Rene Irene Richardson, 20, previously from Southport, pleaded guilty in Ipswich Magistrates Court to eight offences of fraud; unlawful use of a motor vehicle; failing to appear at court; and breach of her bail.

Magistrate Donna MacCallum said Richardson had a significant history of committing fraud and in February 2018 was given a suspended jail sentence.

"I note you appear remorseful about it now but everyone feels remorseful when they are about to face a prison term," Ms MacCallum said.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Bernard Elmore, told the court that one of Richardson's victims, a woman from the Sunshine Coast, advertised on Gumtree the sale of equestrian gear between March 31 and April 7, 2018.

Richardson contacted her by text message and agreed to buy the items including a horse rug for $635.

After showing bank receipts and collecting the gear Richardson cancelled the payments.

The woman made a complaint to police and got some items back.

In a second offence, Richardson saw an advertisement on Gumtree by a woman from Mutdapilly to rent out a horse float. Richardson agreed to rent the float, drove off with it but failed to return it.

When contacted Richardson agreed to pay $250 to rent it another three days. When it was not returned the owner lodged a complaint with police.

The payments for the horse float had been cancelled by Richardson.

However, Richardson sent texts with a photo of the horse float, saying it had been left at Purga in Walloon Park where the owner could pick it up. In a third fraud offence Richardson sold two concert tickets for $600.

The victim paid the money into her account but never received the tickets.

Another online fraud involved Richardson being paid $50 for a pair of ice skates. The skates were never received.

In the unlawful use of a motor vehicle offence, Richardson told a friend she had a blood infection and needed a kidney operation. She was allowed to borrow his Nissan ute but after two weeks she failed to return it.

Ms MacCallum said jail was the only appropriate penalty, but with immediate release to parole.

For the eight fraud offences she was convicted and sentenced to four months' jail (on each) with immediate parole.

Her previous suspended jail sentence of two months was activated (with immediate parole) making it a suspended jail term of six months. She was fined $600 for failing to appear at court.

Richardson was ordered to pay restitution to her victims with SPER to set a payment plan.

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