Castlebar sting caught online credit card fraudster

A Glenisland man has been jailed for online credit card fraud.

Judge Mary Devins sentenced Thomas Lennon, with an address at Monagaurann, Glenisland and also at Beghmore, Belclare, Tuam, to six months in prison after he pleaded guilty to two charges for theft and attempted deception before the court.

The court heard how Lennon, a 28-year-old IT support professional, used credit card details obtained on a hacker’s website to order two top-of-the-range Samsung flatscreen televisions on June 19 and June 25, 2013.

Solicitor for Lennon, Declan Hynes, said his client was unemployed at the time of the crimes. He was trawling the internet when he stumbled across the shady website.

The website had an alarming collection of credit card details and personal information belonging to individuals from all over the world.

Lennon obtained some credit card details - for free - and then followed a link on the site called ‘freebies’.

The link led to a page of suggested companies to target with the stolen credit card details.

On June 19, 2013, Lennon used the credit details and the alias of ‘Mark Smith’, to order a 55-inch flatscreen Samsung television, valued at €1,556, from a Kilkenny company called ElectroCity.ie

Shortly thereafter, a woman from Colardo, USA, contacted ElectroCity.ie and said the television was purchased on her credit card without her knowledge.

A few days later, on June 25, Lennon ordered a second television, using different credit card details but the same Mark Smith alias. The order was flagged by staff at the company. ElectroCity.ie contacted gardaí and a sting operation was arranged.

The sting operation caught Lennon accepting delivery from a courier of an empty television box at a retail park on the outskirts of Castlebar.

Superintendent Pat Diskin told the judge that Lennon had no other previous convictions but had before been given an adult caution for fraudulent use of a credit card to buy an air rifle in Dundalk.

Judge Devins said she rejected any claim that Lennon, father of a young child, committed the fraud because he was under financial pressure. She said instead that Lennon displayed a “basic lack of honesty”.

Judge Devins said she could not be lenient because the facts of the case showed anyone could potentially get their hands on a stranger’s credit card details and committ such a crime.

The judge sentenced Lennon to six months imprisonment in total for two charges relating to theft and attempted deception.

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