Page last updated at 17:53 GMT, Friday, 17 July 2009 18:53 UK

eBay fraudster jailed once more

Phillip Shortman
Shortman pictured at an earlier court appearance

A notorious eBay fraudster has been jailed for 30 months for conning more internet users out of thousands just months after his release from prison.

Phillip Shortman, 22, from Cwmbran, admitted 15 counts of fraud and asked for 13 more similar offences to be taken into consideration.

Newport Crown Court heard the fraudster offered tickets for rugby's Six Nations on eBay and another website.

The judge told Shortman: "You are a thoroughly dishonest young man."

The court heard how in the latest fraud, internet users paid the married father-of-two for the tickets, but only received an envelope in return with a letter inside saying the tickets were enclosed.

Gareth James, prosecuting, said Shortman had stapled the letters, removed the staples and made a slit in the envelopes to make it look like the tickets had been intercepted.

This is a deliberate and mean fraud perpetrated against the general public and there was a great deal of sophistication with a view to avoid being traced
Judge David Morris

Another of the charges, Mr James said, related to a Hewlett Packard laptop computer Shortman had offered for sale on eBay.

He said a man called George Lesley had paid Shortman £319.72 for the laptop and received an old, badly scratched IBM Thinkpad worth £20 in return.

In total, Mr James said, Shortman, had conned buyers out of £7,836.22, sometimes using the username Welshlunatic21.

Mr James said Shortman had appeared before the court in May 2005 at just 18 for 21 counts of obtaining property by deception on eBay and asked for 63 further offences to be taken into account on that occasion.

He went on a luxury spree spending weekends in New York and staying at a five-star hotel overlooking Times Square.

Not deterred

He hired stretch limos for nights out with his teenage pals and when police raided his home they found it stacked with top-of-the-range computer gear, hi-fis and flat screen TVs.

Six months later, Shortman was convicted of four offences of obtaining property by deception through misuse of the internet auction site.

In August 2008, Mr James said, Shortman was jailed for 24 months for a further five counts of obtaining property by deception through eBay.

Judge David Morris told Shortman: "Punishment in the past have not deterred you from repeating your conduct.

"This is a deliberate and mean fraud perpetrated against the general public and there was a great deal of sophistication with a view to avoid being traced.

"A repeated fraudster and trickster such as yourself should know you will receive longer and longer periods of loss of liberty if you continue this type of fraud."

Shortman's lawyer Tom Crowther said: "He had got into debt and fell into old ways trying to relieve that debt."

Kevin Morgan, from eBay said the firm had worked hard with Gwent Police to build a successful case against Shortman.

"We hope that the conviction of unscrupulous people like Shortman sends out a clear signal to fraudsters that they won't get away with criminal activity on our site.

"eBay is committed to providing a safe and trusted place for users to trade online and we spend over £6m every year and employ over 2,000 people to keep our site secure."



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SEE ALSO
'Notorious' eBay fraud sentence
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eBay fraudster stole fuel cards
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eBay fraud boy detained for year
04 May 05 |  Wales
Boy's eBay con nets 45,000
12 Oct 04 |  Wales


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