Woman pleads guilty to Beyonce fraud
A Palmerston North woman has admitted using Facebook to con people out of hundreds of dollars by offering to sell Beyonce concert tickets which did not exist and iPhones she did not intend to sell.
From October last year until January this year, Anna Louise Lahey, 24, used Facebook auction pages to offer goods for sale.
The pages worked like TradeMe, but did not have any security settings or guarantees for people using the pages.
On two occasions, she sold two tickets to a Beyonce concert to two different people.
Both people offered $170 for the tickets, which Lahey had deposited into a bank account.
But the tickets never existed, and she ignored any attempts by the conned victims to get their money back.
On three other occasions, Lahey used a Facebook auction page to try sell an iPhone to someone.
Each time she asked for $250 for the phone, and each time the money was deposited into her back account.
But once again, she failed to send any phone and ignored any communication from her victims.
When police caught up with her, she told them she owned two iPhones but could not sell them.
One was damaged while the other had been stolen.
She admitted the Beyonce tickets had never existed.
In the Palmerston North District Court this morning, she pleaded guilty to fraud charges stemming from each con.
Judge Gregory Ross said there was significant pre-meditation involved, and that ignoring those who she had preyed on escalated her offending.
There was also an increasing trend in people using Facebook to sell items that did not exist, he said.
Judge Ross remanded Lahey until May for sentencing.