A YOUNG Toowoomba man must pay back more than $8000 after he was caught selling fake gold bullion on social media.

Harrison James Ward, 22, pleaded guilty in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court on Wednesday to five counts of fraud.

On at least two occasions the fraud was perpetrated with a co-offender, Nicholas Anthony Ward.

The court heard the pair advertised fake gold bullion on Facebook Marketplace on April 1 for $1800.

Their first victim arranged to purchase the fake gold on April 10 in Toowoomba.

Police prosecutor Shelby Larcombe said the victim paid cash but did not realise the bullion was fake until they returned home.

Harrison James Ward.
Harrison James Ward.

“They attempted to contact (Ward) but had been blocked,” she said.

On June 2 Ward listed more fake bullion, this time on Gumtree for $2400 and two days later received a call from his second victim.

Ms Larcombe said Ward offered the victim “a deal” to sell two bars for $4700.

Ward, his co-offender and their victim met at Plainland to make the exchange.

Again, when the victim realised they had been duped they asked for a refund, only to be ignored.

The third scam involved Ward selling fake bullion to a victim in Melbourne for $2000 who found a listing on social media and transferred the money to an account in Ward’s name.

The court heard Ward repeated the process of blocking his victim after he had hold of their money.

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Ward’s fourth fraud involved selling a fake iPhone for $1000 at Cambooya.

“While the victim was looking at the phone (Ward) has turned and ran away,” Ms Larcombe said.

The fifth fraud involved Ward buying car parts worth $300 with a fake credit card.

Acting for the defence, solicitor Patrick O’Donnell said this was the first time his client had been in trouble with the law and that he was remorseful.

“He has the benefit of youth on his side,” he said.

Magistrate Howard Osborne sentenced Ward to 120 hours of community service and placed him on a 12-month probation order, with no conviction recorded.

He also ordered that Ward pay $8009 restitution to his victims, noting that his co-offender had already paid back some of the stolen money.

Originally published as Fraudster ordered to work off $8K debt from selling fake bullion