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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 August 2007, 13:23 GMT 14:23 UK
'Notorious' eBay fraud sentence
Phillip Shortman
Shortman pictured at an earlier court appearance
A 20-year-old "obsessed" with defrauding customers of the internet auction site eBay has been sentenced to two years' custody.

Philip Shortman, from Cwmbran, south Wales, was sent to a detention centre for another 45,000 eBay fraud in 2005.

The judge at Newport Crown Court said his deception "strikes at the system" of internet trading "as a whole".

In the latest fraud he was jailed for conning eBay users of 14,000 and breaching a suspended jail term.

Prosecutor Ian Ibrahim said Shortman, a married father-of-two, had used false names to fraudulently sell goods including 2006 Ryder Cup tickets, a Sony camcorder and a state-of-the-art mobile priced at more than 900.

The court heard that he also bought a laptop valued at 250 and computer parts over the net but did not pay for them.

When the computer seller attempted to get it back when the money failed to appear in his bank account, Shortman sent him abusive emails.

In 2005, when he was 17, Shortman was given a year's detention for conning eBay users out of 45,000 of goods.

Before he was caught he spent the money on limousine rides with friends and a shopping trip to New York.

He is, at the age of 20, somebody who has attracted a certain level of notoriety
Laurence Jones, defending

Then in January this year, he was given an eight-month suspended jail term after admitting buying thousands of pounds of stolen fuel cards.

The court heard he should have been sentenced for the latest fraud last Friday but was being interviewed by police about another offence.

This involved the collection of a Vauxhall Astra from a man in Hay-on-Wye, who later found he could not collect the agreed 850 fee as Shortman had used a false PayPal account.

It was the 32nd offence Shortman asked the court to take into consideration.

His barrister Laurence Jones told the court Shortman could be described as being "obsessed" with defrauding customers of eBay.

Mr Jones said: "He is, at the age of 20, somebody who has attracted a certain level of notoriety.

When those like you deceive purchasers and vendors over the internet, it strikes at the system as a whole and brings otherwise respectable trading institutions and individuals into overall disrepute
Judge David Morris

"He is 20 and I ask the court to bear that in mind when sentencing him. His best, and perhaps only point of mitigation, is the full and frank admissions made to police during interviews."

He said Shortman had lower than average intelligence but could gain a sense of achievement from his illegal activities on eBay.

Mr Jones said Shortman took his role as a father seriously but added: "He accepts that his current behaviour acts as no role model to his children."

Sentencing Shortman to a young offenders' institution, Judge David Morris said: "Internet trading depends on trust and honesty.

"When those like you deceive purchasers and vendors over the internet, it strikes at the system as a whole and brings otherwise respectable trading institutions and individuals into overall disrepute."

After the case, Gareth Griffith, from eBay, said maintaining a secure site for buyers and sellers was eBay's "first priority".

"We are delighted that Mr Shortman, without doubt a persistent and unrepentant fraudster, has been given a prison sentence and that the efforts of our investigations team and our determination to push for a prosecution have been rewarded today," he said.




SEE ALSO
Boy's eBay con nets 45,000
12 Oct 04 |  Wales



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