A woman tried to sell two Rolex watches on auction website eBay, but failed to post them out after being paid half the money by bidders.
Berwick magistrates heard that Kelly Preston advertised the watches, although the Crown Prosecution Service weren’t entirely sure they existed.
One winning bidder was contacted by email and persuaded to pay half (£1,500) in a bank transfer as the defendant claimed her Paypal account had exceeded its limit. Another bidder was asked to pay £550 by bank transfer, but according to prosecutor James Long, the watches never arrived.
Preston, who was living in Beadnell at the time of the offences, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation and was sentenced to a three-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £1,050 in compensation.
In mitigation, defence solicitor Ian O’Rourke said the 33-year-old believed both watches were genuine, but had since discovered one of them was a fake. He said there was no excuse, but added: “I can’t for the life of me explain why people should deal like this on eBay outside the protection of the Paypal scheme.”He said one of the buyers had been particularly gullible as they had already had their money refunded by Paypal before agreeing to the bank cash transfer.
Mr O’Rourke and the Probation Service told the court that Preston had gone through ‘traumatic life incidents’ in recent months and evidence of this was presented. Magistrates heard the defendant was a qualified accountant but because of these offences she would be unable to work again in that field.