Oh eBay! After countless warnings issued it seems that ebay customers are still falling for the most basic of scam. The latest saw two money launderers dupe innocent victims into paying for imaginary vehicles. Some of the six victims, who shelled out thousands on seven vehicles, lost their savings in the scam.
Second-hand cars were advertised by the two bogus motor car companies on ebay. The makes of cars advertised were two BMWs, a Peugeot, a Renault, a Vauxhall, a Range Rover Evoque and a VW Golf. Some customers loaned money to buy the fake cars and one lost an £8,000 inheritance to the two bogus ebay car salesman.
The victims arranged to buy the cars over the phone with someone they thought was a salesperson, who gave them details of the accounts to pay the money into. Two Leicester men, Muaadh Sameja, 30, and Jay Raniga, 20, were said to have been recruited by the scam organisers to receive the cash into their accounts and pass it on, reports Leicestershire Live.
Lynsey Knott, prosecuting at Leicester Crown Court, said: “These two defendants, and others not before the court, were involved in offering vehicles for sale on eBay, which they didn’t deliver when customers parted with their money.
“The money was then moved out of the defendants’ accounts in cash and various transfers.”
Sameja, of Shanti Margh, Belgrave, and Raniga, of Wainwright Avenue, Hamilton, admitted various counts involving a total of 14 offences between them – of fraud, possessing, converting and transferring criminal property, between January 2016 and April 2017.
Sentencing, Judge Philip Head said: “You two were a part of a group that was operating a sophisticated fraud.
“Bank accounts were provided by you two to receive payments and to pass on the money out of which your victims had been cheated.”
The judge said Raniga assisted in setting up one of the bogus companies used to advertise the vehicles and defraud unwitting purchasers.
He added: “Some victims were very hard hit by what happened.
“Some had borrowed the money and some couldn’t even admit (to loved ones) the loss your fraud inflicted upon them.
“They were well planned offences but your own personal part in that was comparatively low.”
Matthew Cullen, mitigating, for Sameja said: “He wasn’t involved in the organising, other than knowing what the bank accounts were being set up were for.
“He accepts that greed got the better of rational thinking.
“The trigger for that was the financial difficulty he was in at the time.
“He was offered a quick fix for his money problems and that’s why he went along with it.
“He’s expressed genuine remorse.”
How were the pair sentenced?
Sameja was given an 18-month jail sentence, suspended for two years. He was ordered to attend a Thinking Skills course and placed on a four-month electronically monitored curfew between 7 pm and 6 am.
Raniga was sentenced to a 59-week detention sentence, suspended for two years, with a 15 day rehabilitation activity requirement.
He will also have to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work.