AN ONLINE DATER has pleaded guilty to money laundering after she met the wrong catch on dating site Plenty of Fish.
Michelle Gahan, 51, stole $3000 on the request of men she met online and made $400 out of the transactions.
In June 2017, the victim had his email account hacked by an unknown person, telling a company he contracted to deposit future payments into a new account.
A few days later $42,276 was deposited into the account not owned by the victim.
Read more stories:
Investigations showed the second account was opened by a woman named Jennifer Gibson in Grafton, who withdrew $1000 from an ATM and went inside to request $15,000.
You were to some extent duped by this behaviour.Magistrate Michael Holmes
Staff told Gibson the maximum withdrawal is $2000, so she left and deposited the $3000 into a National Australia Bank account, opened by Gahan.
A total of $2600 was transferred from Gahan’s account to the men off Plenty of Fish, Gahan told the police she met Gibson in Queensland two years prior and lent her money.
Magistrate Michael Holmes said the circumstances are very strange.
“Does she know what to do if a prince contacts her?” he said.
“You should have used more common sense at the time – these people can’t commit offences without people like you.
“You were to some extent duped by this behaviour.”
Gahan lives with her parents in Wadsworth, the court heard, and the fraudsters created a friendship with her online over a period of time.
The $3000 was repaid by Gahan, and defence solicitor Rodd Watt said it is lucky the $42,000 wasn’t withdrawn, or she could have been ordered to pay it back.
“Over a period of time [the men] accumulated a friendship with my client and used her to launder money,” Mr Watt said.
Gahan was convicted of dealing with property proceeds of crime, fined $1000 and placed on a good behaviour bond for 18 months.
“You’ve learned a valuable lesson,” Mr Holmes said.
“It’s a shame it’s been an expensive lesson.”
Gahan has given up the dating sites for good, the court heard.