‘Gullible young man’ admits part in fraud

A “GULLIBLE young man” who stole more than �3,000 from a person’s bank account after being pressurised by a gang has been sent to a young offenders’ institute.

Matthew Whale, 19, transferred the money into his own account by telephone before withdrawing large amounts from banks and cashpoints across Ipswich.

Whale, of Franklin Road, Ipswich, appeared at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court and pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and a separate charge of possessing a stun gun.

The court heard that Whale’s crime spree came to an end in October last year after making a withdrawal of �800 from the Lloyds TSB bank at Cornhill in Ipswich town centre.

Prosecutor Lesla Small said: “The cashier became suspicious after noticing that several transactions of �800 had been made from that account in the last hour.

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“The police were then able to access CCTV images of the defendant making withdrawals with other people in the vicinity.

“It appears that a gang of people were involved in the operation but it was the defendant who received money into his account and it was him who made these transactions.”

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Claire Hullock, for Whale, said: “He was pressurised by someone he knows to accept money into his own bank account. He was told he would receive 20% of the money taken.

“That was his motive – but none of the money was ever handed over to him.

“He is a very gullible young man and he has been manipulated because of his gullibility. He was too frightened to give a full account to police when interviewed. He was scared of recriminations from the people who ordered him to do this.” Ms Hullock added that Whale had bought the stun gun to protect his family from being burgled.

District Magistrate David Cooper told Whale: “You agreed to assist a sophisticated fraud operation in which your only motive was greed. One can only imagine the worry and panic this theft caused the account holder. You then failed to give any help to the police. Owning a stun gun seems quite sinister to me.”

Whale was sentenced to 90 days in a young offenders’ institute. His stun gun was ordered to be destroyed.

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