Gift card scammer gets conditional discharge
An internet scammer was shown mercy in Magistrates’ Court yesterday after he admitted the theft of almost $400.
Kenneth Sousa, 39, was given a one year conditional discharge for dishonestly obtaining funds – but was ordered to pay $380 in restitution to the victim, Junaid Ahmed.
The court heard that Mr Ahmed met Sousa through the Bermuda Bargains Facebook page and that Sousa, under the name “Prince Fyre”, attempted to sell him a $550 MarketPlace gift card.
Mr Ahmed gave Sousa $200 in cash and Sousa told him that a MarketPlace employee named Kathy Madarias would call him for further details.
Mr Ahmed did get a call from a Kathy Madarias, who told him to collect the card at Hamilton MarketPlace, but when Mr Ahmed visited the store he was told that no one named Kathy Madarias worked there.
Mr Ahmed contacted Sousa again and he told the victim thatr the card was actually worth $600 and that he would have to pay an extra $50 to get it.
Mr Ahmed gave Sousa the cash, but was contacted six days later and was told the gift card was now $750 and would require an extra $130 for purchase.
Mr Ahmed eventually paid the full amount but never received the gift card.
He later contacted Sousa and demanded his money back, but Sousa refused.
Mr Ahmed told police about the incident and officers arrested Sousa for suspicion of theft on February 17.
During a police interview, Sousa admitted the gift card did not exist and the whole episode was a scam.
Karen King-Deane, for the Crown, told the court that Sousa had previous convictions for theft and that he sold gift cards to Mr Ahmed in the past to build trust.
But Magistrate Maxanne Anderson ordered him to return Mr Ahmed’s cash and to stay out of trouble for at least a year.
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