Judge warns eBay fraudster he faces jail for £180,000 scam

7/9/2011   eb''Ashley Turner at Portsmouth Crown Court charged with selling thousands of pounds worth of stolen items on eBay.'' (113185-3)
7/9/2011 eb''Ashley Turner at Portsmouth Crown Court charged with selling thousands of pounds worth of stolen items on eBay.'' (113185-3)
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A PLUMBER who made almost £180,000 in an eBay scam has been warned he faces jail.

Ashley Turner denied selling cameras, sat navs, MP3 players and laptops that he suspected might have been stolen, through the on-line auction website.

But a jury took just under four hours to find the 28-year-old guilty in a majority verdict following a trial at Portsmouth Crown Court.

He was convicted of one charge of converting criminal property to the value of £178,580 sold on eBay knowing or suspecting it to represent either whole or in part the proceeds of criminal conduct.

Addressing Turner upon his conviction, Judge Ian Pearson warned: ‘You have been found guilty of dealing potentially with hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of property on eBay.

‘A custodial sentence is therefore almost inevitable.’

Prosecutor Tim Moores described how Turner was part of a nationwide network of crooks selling high-value stolen electrical goods on-line.

Police say Turner raked in the cash over a three-year period by selling 591 items on eBay between October 2007 and March 2010.

Tuner made regular large deposits into his bank account from his PayPal account – a secure web payment service – despite having no regular income. When police raided his home in Warnford Crescent, Leigh Park, Turner was out.

But he panicked upon realising police were at his address and ditched laptops, iPods, sat navs and camera lenses at his girlfriend’s home in Blackthorn Road, Hayling Island. Police later found the stash.

In three years Turner paid out £16,000 buying goods on the online auction site.

Mr Moores said: ‘But during that same period he (Turner) has made sales which total £178,580.

‘So, clearly, this is not a case of someone who has been buying goods on eBay at a lower price and subsequently trading them on at a higher price.

‘There are plenty of people who quite legitimately do this as a business, buy lower and sell higher.’

He went on: ‘The figures speak for themselves, that Turner has not spent out enough purchasing items that he has then sold. Clearly he must have another source.’

But Turner denied knowing any of the goods were stolen.

Dean Frost, 33, of Anmore Close, Havant, had previously pleaded guilty to the same charge, pocketing £375,982 between November, 2008 and March 2010.

Daniel O’Sullivan, 31, of Danebury Close, Leigh Park, also pleaded guilty to making £159, 363 between March 2008 and March 2010.

Turner, Frost and O’Sullivan have all been bailed to return for sentencing at a date to be fixed and will face a confiscation hearing.