December 2004

Sex offender jailed for web fraud

A man has been jailed for four years for conning £15,000 out of customers on an auction website and for failing to register as a sex offender.

Cardiff Crown Court heard Carl Germon, 41, admit 50 counts of deception after setting up a fraudulent travel firm.

He is considered as “high risk” by police. Germon was jailed for three-and-a-half years in 1998 for indecently assaulting a 13-year-old boy.

He also has previous convictions for sex attacks on children aged 10, seven and six.

The court also heard Germon, from Cardiff, had committed sex crimes in the past and had been ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.

He was also given a 12-month term for failing to register earlier this year.

The court heard Germon set up Mackenzie Travel using the Freeserve auction site, and offered holidays to Turkey, Tenerife and Menorca, took money from customers but never supplied tickets.

Merion Davies, prosecuting, said: “When the police investigation commenced, Mackenzie Travel’s bank account was frozen with £9,000 still in it.

“Cheques were presented to the company by customers all over England, Wales and Scotland.

“Mackenzie Travel purported to be selling holidays and goods via that auction and fairly large sums were received over a very short period of time.”

Germon admitted taking cheques from 50 people for holidays, camping equipment and electrical goods during the two-month scam.

Judge Christopher Llewellyn-Jones QC told him: “It’s frankly quite frightening the ease with which the internet can be used in order to commit fraud.

“This case illustrates the ease with which people can be taken in.”