When it comes to the advances brought about by the emergence of the internet, online shopping is one of the biggest factors that people say has changed their life. There is no getting away from the fact that people are keen to have access to as many things as they can in life and it may be that buying goods online provides the chance to snap up things that you wouldn’t normally find or find at such a reasonable price. This is why there has been a high level of interest in what is on offer on sites like eBay because it provides an opportunity to bring interested buyers and sellers together.
Of course, whenever there is a platform to bring people together, there will always be people who are keen to take advantage of that situation. This means that if you are looking for a bargain or a hard to find item on eBay, you should be wary about what you are actually buying. The old adage about if something is too good to be true then it probably is rings true when it comes to eBay and a woman from Huddersfield has been sentenced to 56 months in prison for a string of offences, many of which included fraudulent activity on eBay. A four and a half year prison sentence is quite a serious length of time and it indicates the volume and severity of crimes that have been carried out by Charmaine Kate McAllister.
McAllister focused on a niche market
McAllister appeared at Sheffield Crown Court to face 45 charges of fraud which amounted to over £46,000 in value. A large number of the cases were related to the purchase of saddles via eBay and she also committed a number of thefts at equestrian events.
Given the niche market for these products, it is possible to develop a good following and reputation in a short period of time. This means that a fraudster can be seen as a trustworthy expert in a short period of time, which is sometimes all you need to be in a position to carry out a crime. It is easy to think that you should look to be as mass market as you can in your appeal because this will provide you with more people to sell to but it can be difficult to sell in this way. Finding a niche market can help to focus your efforts and energies on a group that are looking to buy.
The judge was scathing in his summing up
The Judge said to McAllister, who committed her crimes under the surname Rowan; “You were a plague to equestrian events. You were a plague to the whole horse industry.” There was a psychiatric report issues stating that McAllister suffered from an impulse control disorder but the judge said that this was less than compelling, further stating; “You are just a deep-seated thief. You don’t care about the impact on your victims or your own family”.
A major investigation was carried out by the force in Lincolnshire with PC Stephanie Snell being one of the leading investigation officers. She spoke after the case, saying; “Following a lengthy and protracted investigation into numerous offences of theft and fraud by Miss McAllister, it is extremely satisfying to see that the criminal justice system has served the victims in this case by imposing a lengthy custodial sentence. The victims, who were from all parts of the United Kingdom, have lost large sums of money and were all affected by the manipulative and dishonest behaviour of McAllister. She showed no remorse in her offending and committed numerous offences whilst on probation with a suspended sentence order, and also after being interviewed by the police, going on to commit further offences each time and using dishonest methods to evade custody and court appearances. McAllister is skilled in the art of deception and has managed to defraud a high number of victims and I am happy that justice has been served, and she is now unable to commit any further offences”.
Given the volume and severity of crimes that McAllister faced, the role of the solicitor team was as much about minimising the impact on her as opposed to trying to prove innocence. There is a need for solicitor teams to be realistic with what they can achieve in cases of this nature and the best advice and guidance will often be based upon obtaining the best possible outcome, whatever that is deemed to be.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.