Dudley conman used big star names to fiddle fans

A DUDLEY conman used false names to sell bogus tickets for top pop concerts featuring acts like Rihanna and Take That.

Matthew Thompson trousered £3,000 selling the tickets on internet sites in what was described at Wolverhampton Crown Court as a "well planned and sophisticated fraud."

Timothy Harrington, prosecuting, told the court people paid for tickets that did not materialise because 33-year-old Thompson did not have them in the first place.

The court heard Thompson managed to produce evidence that the tickets were genuine and he picked up £2,985 from seven customers who were left angry and disappointed.

Judge John Warner told Thompson it was serious offending because it undermined public confidence in the internet which was now a major market for people wanting to buy goods.

He told Thompson of Tudor Vale, Upper Gornal: "There are many people who have financial difficulties but they do not turn to calculated dishonesty."

Thompson admitted seven charges of fraud and he was given a 20 week jail term suspended for two years and placed on supervision for a year.

The judge further ordered him to carry out 200 hours unpaid work in the community and said he must obey a 16 week curfew between the hours of 7pm and 7am.

Gurdeep Garcha, for Thompson, a writer who is hoping to get his books published, was deeply ashamed of his actions adding: "He wants to apologise publicly for what he has done.

"There are a number of losers who are out of pocket and he knows he has caused them considerable distress."

Mr Harrington said one woman saw an advert for Take That concert tickets at Wembley arena and she sent off £330 which went into an account held by Thompson's girlfriend.

A doctor paid £760 for four tickets for the Isle of Wight festival when she replied to an advert that had been placed saying the person who had the tickets could not attend because he was going to Florida.

And another man paid over £460 for Take That tickets to Thompson who was using fictitious names to place his adverts on sites including ebay.

He was finally arrested after a string of complaints were made to police and when his home was searched officers seized his computer and discovered ledgers containing false identities.

When questioned Thompson maintained he was a legitimate ticket seller but he had been let down by other people regarding the tickets involved in the case. But that was just not true, said Mr Harrington.

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