Teenager jailed for selling fake holidays on eBay

A TEENAGER who made £8000 by selling non-existent holidays on eBay has been jailed for 14 months.

Nathan Hudson copied genuine adverts for luxury trips to London, New York and Paris onto the internet auction site and charged customers up to 1,500 a time for the breaks.

The 19-year-old used an internet cafe in Edinburgh to con 12 people during the three-month scam, which came to light after angry customers posted negative feedback on the website.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Hudson was easily traced after giving customers his name, email address and bank details to his victims.

He pled guilty to 12 charges of fraud totalling 8,129 at Edinburgh

Sheriff Court earlier this month and was sentenced today.

The offences took place between November 2003 and February 2004, but Hudson – who is now 25 – had avoided justice after failing to turn up at court.

He used an internet cafe in Leith Walk to copy and paste details from legitimate holiday company websites and change the prices on a number of luxury trips.

He gave customers his name and email address and asked them to pay the money into his own bank account.

Among his victims were a man who paid 590 for a holiday to New York and another who paid 1,550 for a trip to Paris.

"It wasn't a terribly sophisticated fraud," said fiscal depute Melanie Ward, prosecuting.

"Surprisingly, eBay for some time didn't take him off their service.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"A number of people discovered there was negative feedback being left on the website in relation to Mr Hudson," she said.

Hudson, from East Yorkshire, was traced by police and admitted the fraud.

Solicitor Duncan Hughes, defending, said his client was living in a flat in Leith at the time of the offences and later moved to Aviemore.

He said he had had a "sheltered and protective" upbringing as an only child living with his parents and had left school with several GCSEs.

But things had gone wrong when he left home and he is now serving a two-year sentence after being convicted of other offences at Leeds Crown Court last November.

"He's moved from address to address throughout the UK living in a variety of short term lets," said Mr Hughes.

"He was spending too much money and the way he tried to solve the problem was to turn to this fairly ham-fisted fraud.

"It was inevitable that he was going to be caught," he added.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The lawyer said 4,000 of the money he made had never reached Hudson because a restraining order had been put on it.

Sheriff Alistair Noble said Hudson would serve 11 months for the frauds and three months for failing to turn up at court, reduced from 19 months because he pled guilty.

"This case can only be dealt with by way of a custodial sentence," said the sheriff.

"I take into account your relatively limited history of offending."