A FRAUDSTER claimed to have tickets available for top sporting events and music festivals.
Carl Williams (above) advertised on Facebook and other social media websites and took money off friends and others – but the tickets never arrived.
In fact, a court was told, the tickets never existed.
Williams, of Cae’r Haf, Summerhill, Wrexham, tried to get away with what he had done by going to the police to make a formal complaint that he had been defrauded by someone who he said was supplying him with tickets.
That led to an innocent man being interviewed by police.
But while police were investigating his claims the fraud continued and he continued to sell tickets that he did not have.
Mold Crown Court was told the most mean offence involved taking £400 off a friend who was desperate for work.
Williams falsely told him he worked at JCB and could get him a job if he attended a £400 course in Liverpool.
The friend handed the cash over but there was no course and Williams had no contact with JCB.
People who bought tickets for the V Festival, Manchester United, Wales rugby and top cricket events were left out of pocket and disappointed.
Some people actually travelled to the events with the promise that he would meet them there – but of course he failed to turn up.
One woman who travelled to Cardiff for a Wales rugby match only to find she had no ticket contacted Williams, who refused a refund by saying she had failed to turn up and he had been waiting for her, explained prosecuting barrister Maria Massellis.
In many cases he blamed a non-existent third party for letting him down and gave victims a mobile number where they could contact him, but it always rang out.
Williams, 34, pleaded guilty to 12 charges of fraud involving various tickets and the JCB course, and one charge of leaving without paying for two nights stay with food and drink, to the value of £187, at Dodington Lodge Hotel at Whitchurch.
Williams asked for other offences to be taken into consideration which he committed after the police probe started.
Jailing him for 15 months, Judge Niclas Parry, sitting at Mold Crown Court, said to call him a conman was a gross understatement.
Over a seven month period last year he quite deliberately defrauded 18 innocent victims.
“In each case you lied to them, you sensed their desperation for what they wanted and you played on that,” the judge told him.
He left them without tickets, out of pocket and hugely disappointed. He had let them down when they expected to attend popular music and sporting events.
Some had travelled on the day of the events without tickets hoping to see him.
But Williams accused them of failing to keep their side of the bargain and refused refunds, he said.
He had used friends who he persuaded to advertise his non-existent tickets on their Facebook sites and they had ended up being blamed by purchasers.
Judge Parry said “the most wicked offence” was taking advantage of a friend desperate for work when there was no job and no course.
“This is 21st century crime. There are occasions when sentences must send out a message to the society in which the court operates,” Judge Parry explained.
Henry Hills, defending, said Williams, who wept throughout much of yesterday’s sentencing hearing, was a man of no previous convictions who had acted out of character in financial straits.
“He is deeply ashamed that he engaged in this behaviour,” he said.
“It was financially motivated in view of the debts run up by the defendant and his then partner.”