Trade Me scammer skips court

KIRSTY JOHNSTON
Last updated 10:17 21/09/2012

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A Trade Me scammer who conned customers out of nearly $50,000 failed to turn up at court for sentencing today.

Elmira Rafiee, 25, was charged with 56 dishonesty offences after selling website users cut-price iPhones and iPads that never arrived.

She used websites Trade Me and Sella to contact her victims directly pretending to be the seller of products they were interested in. Forty five people fell for the scam and Rafiee pocketed $46,000. The highest single amount paid was $1100 for an iPad.

When caught last year, Rafiee admitted the charges and was told to pay back the money.

She was due to be sentenced today - possibly to jail - but neither she nor her lawyer arrived at Auckland District Court.

A clearly displeased Judge David Harvey called the lawyer "discourteous" and issued a warrant for Rafiee's arrest.

It's not the first time she has failed to show. 

While awaiting her sentencing, she skipped bail at least three times and was twice caught associating with her boyfriend Chadlyn Vanniekerk, whom she was banned from seeing by a High Court judge after her first breach.

Judge Semi Epati granted Rafiee bail in October last year after her lawyer Mark Ryan assured the court that her family would be willing to cut off their internet access to ensure she did not breach bail conditions that prevent her from going online.

Rafiee was also given a 24-hour curfew, meaning she must stay at her parents' house with no-one outside of the family allowed to visit unless her parents were present.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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