A serial fraudster has been jailed for swindling more than $47,000 from Gumtree sellers, all while serving a suspended sentence for an earlier string of scams.
Details of Bradley Thomas Anthony Strauch’s second scamming spree – committed just eight weeks after his sentencing for a lengthy scam spree back in 2016 – were revealed at Brisbane District Court on Tuesday.
Last year, Strauch received a five-year suspended jail term for a protracted series of frauds in 2016, which involved him posing as a doctor to respond to advertisements on the online classifieds website Gumtree.
On Tuesday, the 27-year-old pleaded guilty to a range of charges, including fraud, driving without a licence, serious assault of a corrective services officer and obstructing staff members.
The court was told the new fraud offences were committed after Strauch had received his suspended jail term in April 2019.
Over six weeks, he contacted various people selling items on Gumtree.
Crown prosecutor Scott Carter said Strauch would show them a fake receipt or cheque to prove he had transferred the money, before collecting the items.
On two occasions, Strauch sold cars he had fraudulently obtained to dealerships, passing the documents off as his own.
Strauch also did not pay for fuel he promised to pay for on one occasion and was driving while unlicensed on five occasions.
Mr Carter told the court another woman arranged to sell her car to Strauch but did not proceed when the funds did not arrive in her account.
“The total quantity of the fraud offences is more than $47,000 and the intent was $8000,” Mr Carter said.
“There was some quantity recovered but approximately $16,000 was not recovered.”
Mr Carter said Strauch also obstructed corrective services officers by refusing to move from a room while awaiting sentence in September last year.
His arm swung and hit a cup of hot coffee, spilling it on an officer’s arm.
During his previous scams in 2016, Strauch posed as a fake doctor to obtain items such as second-hand cars from Gumtree advertisements.
By the time he was caught by police, he had swindled more than $223,885 worth of cash and goods.
Defence lawyer Nick Bennett explained Strauch had a number of conditions, including Asperger’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder, that had impacted his work history.
Mr Bennett said his client at times suffered seizures and now had to wear a helmet while in prison, as he was considered a fall risk.
He told the court part of Strauch’s ear was severed from an accident while in custody.
Mr Bennett said Strauch now wanted to put his past behind him and had realised there were “more important things than trying to be a big shot”.
“He has realised what is important to him and wants to prioritise his family,” Mr Bennett said.
Judge Tony Moynihan on Tuesday activated Strauch’s remaining suspended sentence and imposed another 18-month jail term.
With more than a year already served behind bars, his parole eligibility date was fixed from Tuesday.
“Some of the victims have suffered loss or harm and have been adversely affected, some are out of pocket,” Judge Moynihan said.
Strauch was disqualified from driving or holding a licence for six months.