A 69-year-old shearer who allowed his bank account to be used for Facebook fraud has been ordered to pay back $3715 fleeced from eight victims.
The Napier District Court was told that Major Te Ture, of Hastings, was not the fraudster making fake listings on the Facebook Marketplace trading platform.
However, he was charged after allowing his bank account to be used by the person or people committing the scams, whom he claimed not to know.
A Crown summary of facts said that Te Ture received the money from the scammed victims into his account, then withdrew it and paid it to the fraudster in return for small amounts of cash and McDonald's meals.
He pleaded guilty to a representative charge of receiving for eight frauds committed using his account between June 2020 and February 2021.
Te Ture stopped after his bank asked him to explain the suspicious deposits and threatened to block access to his account.
Judge Geoff Rea said Te Ture had been caught "preying on the good nature of other people".
"When you … use your own bank account for people to pay into, you are going to get caught," the judge said.
Victims paid money for trades on Facebook, thinking they were buying a television or outdoor furniture, or putting deposits on cars and caravans.
When their money was transferred, the bogus seller's Facebook account disappeared.
The largest amounts transferred were two trades of $1000 – for a deposit on a 2005 Suzuki Swift, and to secure a 1981 Zephyr caravan supposedly being offered for $4000.
Some buyers turned up at houses to complete the transactions, to be told by the occupants they had never heard of the person supposedly selling on Facebook.
False names used by the fraudster included Jamie-Ray Smith, Lucas Smith, Lucas Manawa, David Cormack, Wiremu Wakefield and Leanne McPherson.
The Crown sought reparation for the eight victims.
Defence counsel Sheila Cameron said Te Ture would be able to pay $50 a week.
Judge Rea sentenced Te Ture to 150 hours of community work and told him to pay back the $3715 before December 2024.