a variety of usernames such as "Kitty.1234", "Tazlyttle" and "Braxton94"
Also known as Sebastian Ataru Ward in Christchurch
www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/99554966 ... er-arrived
MJail for TradeMe swindler who sold cellphones that never arrived
A man who systematically ripped off TradeMe users by selling them cellphones that didn't exist has been jailed for 18 months.
And Joshua Kenneth Anderton's trail of deception extended to apparently ripping off his own parents, when he borrowed and then sold his father's car on Facebook the same day.
Anderton, 22, appeared in the Hamilton District Court on Tuesday, for sentencing on 34 charges including causing loss by deception, obtaining by deception, accessing a computer system for dishonest purposes and making false statements to the police that crimes had been committed.
The profits of his offending totalled $48,405 - a crime spree that stretched from June last year to July this year and took place in Christchurch and in the Waikato region.
About half of it happened while he was on bail, after initially being charged in November last year.
All of it, the court heard, was to help fund an out-of-control gambling addiction.
Anderton's fraudulent behaviour began in earnest in the middle of 2016 in Christchurch when he changed his name by deed poll to Sebastian Ataru Ward and, on June 13, registered a company called Greenwave Landscaping Ltd with himself as the director.
The next day he went to a Vodafone store in Christchurch and set himself up with a business account.
He told the Vodafone staff he had been self-employed in the landscaping business for the past two years and three months and had two employees working for him.
Between June 22 and July 2 he went to various other Vodafone stores around Christchurch and obtained 13 Samsung Galaxy S7 cellphones worth $17,787 - all on 24-month monthly business plans - on the rationale that his business was expanding, he was taking on more staff, and those staff would need cellphones.
But those people were not real and the phones were all on-sold by Anderton on Trade Me.
Over the following year he sold more many more phones on TradeMe. But these were phones he didn't have.
Under a variety of usernames such as "Kitty.1234", "Tazlyttle" and "Braxton94" Anderton ripped off dozens of people.
A simple but effective swindle in September last year was typical of his modus operandi: He advertised a Samsung cellphone on TradeMe and the unwitting victim paid $686.50 into his account - at which point Anderton ceased communicating with her and the promised cellphone never arrived.
As well as phantom cellphones, Anderton also flogged off actual cars to fund his habit. One of these was his - a 1996 Mitsubishi Challenger that he sold on Facebook for $2000 in July last year.
The following November an accomplice phoned the police to say she had accidentally left the car outside the Riccarton shopping mall with the keys in the ignition and it had subsequently been stolen. On January 29 this year he phoned the police to say he had seen the same vehicle for sale on a Facebook page.
The day before he made that phone call he was in the south Waikato area when, according to the police summary of facts, he borrowed his father's 2001 Mazda Familia.
Why Anderton borrowed it is not recorded in the summary, but later that day the car was sold on Facebook for $1400. He then went to the Putaruru Police Station, where he reported the car stolen.
Anderton was castigated in court by Judge Thomas Ingram for his "determined and sophisticated effort to hoodwink".
"A good half of this offending was done while on bail. Where's the remorse there?
"While on bail he was out there compounding the error of his ways - not just stealing from people but going to the police and making a false complaint ... This isn't just stealing a couple of candy bars from the local corner store."
Compounding matters for Anderton was the fact he had not completed a sentence of community work for earlier traffic-related offending.
Through his lawyer Glen Prentice, Anderton had offered to make full reparation to all his victims at about $120 per week - meaning he would be able to fully pay them off in about eight years.
While he ordered the reparation be paid, the judge said he had little faith Anderton would stick to his word.
"I have real doubts about anything you say. The only words I accept from you are your pleas of guilty."
From a start point of two and a half years in jail, Judge Ingram subtracted six months for his guilty plea, and a further six months to reflect his youth and offer of reparation - ending with an 18-month jail term.
Leave to apply for home detention was declined.
"You will have to suffer a punishment that is substantial and will dissuade others. The community needs to be protected from you."