Fraudster pretending to be a bailiff conned Darwen garage owner out of £1k

A MAN pretended to be a court bailiff to carry out a “scam” on a Darwen garage.

Blackburn magistrates heard Scott James Johnson initially demanded £5,000 to prevent the garage owner facing court action over an outstanding debt.

The garage owner thought the bill might be to do with water rates and referred it to his landlord.

But after further contact from Johnson and taking advice from his accountant he deposited £1,000 in a bank account he was told belonged to Blackburn magistrates.

Johnson, 28, of Brodick Road, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to fraudulently claiming that he was a bailiff called Stephen Wyn Jones working for the Cardiff Civil Justice Centre intending to make a gain for himself of £1,000. He was fined £80 and ordered to pay £1000 compensation.

Tessa Kenyon, prosecuting, said the victim had told Johnson he didn’t have £5,000 when the demand was first made.

There were a number of follow-up calls and he eventually agreed to transfer £1,000 to an account which he was told belonged to Blackburn Magistrates.

“Shorty after he discovered the account had nothing to do with the courts and at that point realised he had been scammed,” said Miss Kenyon.

“Subsequent inquiries showed that as soon as the money was paid in £300 was withdrawn in cash and the other £700 transferred to another account also in the defendant’s name.”

Miss Kenyon said during the calls Johnson had said two vans were on their way to the garage and if the money wasn’t paid tools and equipment would be seized and removed.

She said Johnson, who had no previous convictions, had initially been given a caution on condition he repaid the money. The matter was brought to court when he failed to pay.

Damian Pickup, defending, said prior to the offence in March his client had been working and in a relationship.

His partner had become pregnant and was going for a 12 week scan.

 

“She told him he couldn’t go with her because of Covid restrictions but he could collect the picture later,” said Mr Pickup.

“Later that day a friend told him to look at Facebook and that showed his girlfriend celebrating with another man and his family. The suggestion was that this other man was the father of the child.”

Mr Pickup said the discovery deeply upset his client and his life spiralled out of control.

“He turned to alcohol and drugs and went on a three month binge,” said Mr Pickup. “He lost his job and his life was going nowhere.”

Mr Pickup said his client heard about the scam in a pub and decided to try it himself in order to fund his “next fix.”

Mr Pickup said things had now improved significantly in his client’s life.

His family became aware of his situation and supported him. He stopped drinking and taking drugs and through the proper channels was able to establish through a DNA test that the child was actually his.

“He wants to pay the money back and is due to start a trial with a welding company next week,” said Mr Pickup.

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