BEYOND UNDERSTANDING: Jamie Cleveland pleaded guilty to fraud at Ipswich Magistrates Court this week.
BEYOND UNDERSTANDING: Jamie Cleveland pleaded guilty to fraud at Ipswich Magistrates Court this week. Ross Irby

How this couple got themselves banned from Facebook, Gumtree

A PAIR of fraudsters have been banned from accessing online market sites like Gumtree to buy or sell goods.

Ipswich couple Jamie Cleveland and Joshua Madsen-Bennett were busted by specialised police targeting cybercrime after they defrauded people or businesses of more than $7500.

The offences involved AFL Grand Final tickets, electronic gift cards, concert tickets, theme park tickets and clothes.

 

Joshua Madsen-Bennett leaves court after admitting to fraud.
Joshua Madsen-Bennett leaves court after admitting to fraud. Ross Irby

Goods the pair sold online never arrived after would-be buyers paid money into Cleveland's bank account.

Cleveland, described in court as being the "mastermind" of the crimes, had been convicted for committing a similar fraud only a few weeks before.

As a New Zealand citizen, she may face deportation.

Cleveland, 22, and Madsen-Bennett, 21, from Goodna, each pleaded guilty in Ipswich Magistrates Court to a series of fraud, forgery and uttering offences.

Cleveland pleaded to a total of 18 charges and her boyfriend to 11 charges.

Cleveland received legal aid for a lawyer but Madsen-Bennett represented himself, saying he earned too much money as a courier driver.

Police prosecutor Ricky Tsoi said the offences were committed online at their Goodna home between December 31, 2017 and April 9 this year.

Victims were even targeted on January 1.

Mr Tsoi said the total fraud was $7608 and police sought restitution from the pair.

Mr Tsoi said Madsen-Bennett's mobile phone had been used to contact victims and the goods purchased sent to his home.

He was responsible for about $4475 of the fraud and should pay half that as his share of restitution.

"It appears Ms Cleveland is the mastermind behind all this offending," Mr Tsoi said.

"She has seven more charges and has history.

"She was subject to a community service order of 140 hours after being sentenced for seven fraud offences last November in Ipswich Magistrates Court.

"It appears her course of conduct despite the court order escalated."

Mr Tsoi said victims were contacted via marketplace sites on Gumtree or Facebook.

In some incidents victims contacted "City Chick" (Cleveland) and paid for dresses that never arrived.

The money paid into her bank account was $1574.

In other incidents one victim saw and advertisement for concert tickets on Gumtree and paid $200 into the account but no tickets ever arrived.

Another paid $150 but concert ticket was sent.

Police sought a jail term of nine to 12 months for Cleveland.

Defence lawyer Matthew Fairclough said Cleveland cooperated with police and she did not deny anything.

He said she suffers depression, had been unemployed five years, and as a New Zealand citizen, was not able to get Centrelink benefits.

Magistrate David Shepherd convicted and sentenced her to nine months' jail with immediate release to supervised parole along with an 18-month probation order.

"Very little can be said, a clear indication you have not learned your lesson," Mr Shepherd said.

"The stupidity of it is self-evident... Beyond understanding really."

Cleveland was banned from accessing internet market place websites used by people to buy or sell goods.

Under the order Cleveland must give police or her parole officer access to electronic devices, phone, tablet or computer to check that she is complying.

Mr Shepherd made a combined order that Madsen-Bennett complete 100 hours of unpaid community service work be supervised under a 12 month probation order.

With no previous criminal offences, a conviction was not recorded.

He is also banned from accessing internet market place websites to buy or sell goods.

Under the order, Madsen-Bennett must give police or probation officers access to his electronic devices, phone, tablet or computer.

It appears Ms Cleveland is the mastermind behind all this offending.



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