Scammer admits fraud on victims
WOMAN ‘SOLD’ PUPS SHE NEVER HAD
AN eight-year-old girl and an 80-year-old man were just two victims of a ‘puppy for sale’ scam run on Gumtree by a Rockingham woman.
The woman made close to $7500 from the scam where she pretended to have puppies for sale but never did.
Estelle Makwana appeared in Rockingham Magistrates Court for sentencing on 10 charges of gaining benefit by fraud after pleading guilty at an earlier date.
The prosecutor said Makwana responded to the victims’ own advertisements wanting certain breeds of puppy. She responded to the ads, stating she had the particular puppy and gave bank details asking for a deposit to be paid in full.
On September 8, 2017, one victim placed an ad wanting a pug puppy. Makwana responded stating she had a pug puppy for sale and requested a $500 deposit be paid in full first and also used the fake name of Sarah Hawkins. After it was paid, Makwana ceased all contact with the victim.
She responded to more ads from separate victims wanting different breeds; twice for a king charles cavalier puppy, and a labrador puppy and rottweiler puppy. She never owned any of the animals and in one instance took money from a mother who wanted a puppy for her daughter.
In two cases she later told the victim the puppy had died and that they had to pay the vet and cremation fees.
In one of those cases she requested a $660 deposit from an 80-year-old man whom she later contacted, telling him the pup had died and asked for money for vet and cremation costs.
The duty lawyer said she accepted the facts in full and was extremely remorseful. She said the offending was because of financial stress after a marriage breakdown.
She said Makwana had a prior record for stealing offences and had returned the money to one victim.
Magistrate Vivien Edwards said there was more than a financial impact to the victims.
“Not only have the victims lost significant sums of money to you but they would have suffered some hurt because of your actions,” she said.
She placed Makwana on a 12-month community-based order with supervision and programs and ordered restitution to all of the victims.