Facebook Marketplace user from Leeds swindled £15,000 worth of jewellery, including Rolex watch, from sellers

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A Leeds scammer who duped people on Facebook out of nearly £15,000 worth of jewellery, including a Rolex watch, claimed he wanted the money for his young children.

Father-of-two Casey Robinson swindled four people after they placed valuables for sale on Facebook Marketplace. Robinson came up with an elaborate ploy using a fake bank transfer to the seller’s account.

The 20-year-old, of Playground, New Farnley, admitted four counts of fraud by false representation at Leeds Crown Court. Prosecutor Ella Embleton said Robinson, using a fake name, first contacted a woman on Marketplace on November 7 last year after she advertised a gold bracelet for sale for £1,250.

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After agreeing a slightly-reduced price, they agreed to meet in a pub. Robinson showed the woman a screen on his phone displaying a successful bank transfer. She handed over the bracelet, but the money never arrived.

Robinson used Facebook to contact sellers, including a man selling a £10,000 Rolex watch. (library pics by Adobe / Getty Images)Robinson used Facebook to contact sellers, including a man selling a £10,000 Rolex watch. (library pics by Adobe / Getty Images)
Robinson used Facebook to contact sellers, including a man selling a £10,000 Rolex watch. (library pics by Adobe / Getty Images)

Using the same fake name – Elliott West – he contacted another seller on November 22 for a gold bracelet worth £650. After agreeing the sale, he went to her place of work accompanied by another man. Again, he showed the victim the apparent bank transfer on his phone as “evidence”, but the money failed to reach her account.

When she refused to hand over the bracelet, he pretended to ring his bank and alleged he was told the transfer could take time. The victim eventually relented and gave him the bracelet. She took a photo of his car, to which she later traced to him.

His third victim on November 25 was again through Marketplace after a woman advertised £3,000 worth of jewellery. He went to her home address and used the same tactic, but again the woman refused to hand over the items until the money was received. Robinson became aggressive and they eventually agreed he could take half and when the money was in her account, return for the other half. It was never received.

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Finally, he contacted a man on Marketplace on February 23 about a £10,000 Rolex watch. He went to the man’s home, but again the man refused to hand over the watch until the money arrived. Robinson became aggressive and pretended to ring his bank, before the victim was persuaded to hand over the watch.

Three of the four victims later identified Robinson in an ID parade. None of the jewellery was ever recovered. He has four previous convictions but all from when he was a youth.

A probation report into Robinson suggested he was struggling with finances at the time, and just wanted the cash for his two children aged three and five, and was sorry for his actions. Mitigating, Jessica Heggie said he now worked as a labourer.

Judge Simon Batiste said: “They (the scams) all had the same modus operandi. There was an element of sophistication taking place. There were clearly others involved but you took the leading role and I’m satisfied you took the lion’s share of the profits.

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"Frankly, you deserve to go to prison, but there is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.”

He gave him a nine-month sentence, suspended for two years and 180 hours of unpaid work. A timetable has been set for a confiscation order to determine if Lee can pay back those he stole from.