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TEEN STOLE pounds 750,000 IN CREDIT CARD SCAM; Computer whizz used details to buy and sell on ebay.

Byline: BY AMARDEEP BASSEY

A MIDLAND teenage computer genius stole the details of 12,000 credit card users to buy pounds 750,000 of electrical equipment - which he then sold on ebay.

Cally Leeming, 19, made more than pounds 100,000 by fraudulently buying and selling goods including laptop computers and digital cameras on the internet auction site.

The scam began after the teenager was fired from his post as a computer technician at Eclipse Computers in Coventry.

In an act of revenge he used his computer expertise to extract details of credit card holders, before going on an internet spending spree in which he bought goods worth pounds 750,000.

His hefty profits of pounds 102,000 from ebay customers were paid into a Coventry Building Society account belonging to his girlfriend, Natalie Sayers.

Their fraudulent activities were only uncovered after an ebay user from Swindon, Wiltshire, contacted the internet company's fraud section, saying he had been defrauded of pounds 5,775.

A full investigation was launched by Wiltshire Police who discovered a catalogue of illegal transactions 'the length and breadth' of the UK.

On Friday, Swindon Crown Court heard that Leeming had admitted defrauding 'hundreds, perhaps thousands' of people on ebay between March 2004 and January 2006.

The teenager was jailed for 15 months and Sayers, 19 and from Coventry, was given a nine-month suspended sentence for her role in the scam.

Prosecutor Ian Halliday said: "Mr Leeming used his facility with computers to obtain, and then make use of, credit card details. He purported to be the true owner of the credit cards to buy various pieces of computer equipment from mail order businesses. He would then use the internet, mainly ebay, to sell the items on. Miss Sayers, for her part in events, was officially involved in the second part of that conspiracy, namely the raising of money."

He added that Sayers, who appeared next to Leeming in the dock, along with the couple's baby daughter, was 'far less

implicated in the course of events'.

"Mr Leeming is clearly the driving force, both intellectually and politically, behind what occurred," said Mr Halliday.

"Her principal reason for helping was her affection for him."

Mr Halliday said bosses from Eclipse Computers, based in Coventry, had sacked Leeming after being tipped off that he had previous convictions for dishonesty.

He told the court Leeming had been convicted of three offences of using computers to try to obtain unauthorised access when he was just 13 years old.

He also had previous convictions for burglary, handling stolen goods and possessing heroin and cocaine.

Stewart Patterson, defending, said Leeming had given himself up to police when 'his conscience got the better of him'.

He said his client had been brought up surrounded by criminality.

"From the age of 16 he was trying to help his mother cope with withdrawal symptoms of heroin and amphetamines and found himself looking after the household," he said.

Jailing Leeming, Judge John McNaught said: "Over 18 months you carried out a very carefully thought-out fraud to the tune of pounds 102,000."

amardeep_bassey@mrn.co.uk
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jul 9, 2006
Words:520
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