As heard by a court, people have been conned out of substantial amounts of money by a man they trusted. They intended buying gold coins from him, but he turned out to be a fraudster. He Later carried out several other scams, and it was his pretence of repairing iPads at his non-existent phone repair service with the intention to steal them which led to him being caught.
When he was close to being found out, the court heard, he pretended to have been burgled to mislead the police. Benjamin Watkins-Field, 26, admitted to have committed ten offences of fraud, another four of theft and others of acquiring property through criminal means, as well as preventing the usual course of justice.
According to the prosecutor, among other things some South African gold coins (namely Krugerrands) were supposedly put up for auction on eBay by Watkins-Field in the summer of 2012. As coins such as these are normally regarded as a good way to invest money, Watkins-Field was able to persuade a handful of the people interested in the aforementioned coins to give him money but the Krugerrands never found their way to their new owners.
With varying amounts of just under £1,000 to almost £2,000, the total sum of the fraud amounted to close to £9,000, half of which was put into the account of his girlfriend and from where they withdrew the money. Using it, not only clothes were bought by Watkins-Field but also a satellite navigation system and a new Ford Mondeo car.
Later he offered to repair tablets as well as mobile phones by setting up a fake service on Facebook, but ultimately keeping the items people wanted him to repair and after paying for the work to be done. Having been asked by the original owners later on, he invented all kinds of excuses for not having returned them on time, for example telling them he was waiting for parts to repair the item or asking them to wait another week.