Excuse for credit card fraud doesn't wash with magistrate

A SOUTH Grafton man who offered a "completely implausible" reason for using a stolen credit card 13 times in a day will have plenty of time to think of new excuses after being sentenced to nine months in jail.

Timothy Smith, 39, first appeared in Grafton Local Court yesterday morning to apply for bail, following his arrest during a police search on Tuesday.

Target Action Group police, assisted by detectives and other officer carried out the search at a Bent St, South Grafton house as part of an investigation into two stolen credit cards.

The cards were part of the contents of a wallet lost in South Grafton by a 28-year-old man on Monday, and police investigations established that from 4.50-6.50pm that day, 13 alleged transactions were made using the cards at a number of businesses in Grafton, including Bunnings, Supercheap Auto, Hungry Jacks and Coles.

During the search of the South Grafton house on Tuesday, police allegedly located the victim's wallet and identification, property relating to the fraud offences, quantities of marijuana and crystal methamphetamine, and a prohibited weapon. Police also seized a Harley Davidson motor bike.

Smith, the occupant, reportedly resisted police during the warrant.

In applying for bail in Grafton Local Court yesterday, his defence solicitor said her client had indicated to her that it was a simple misunderstanding, and he had just "mixed the cards up" with his own after finding the wallet.

But Magistrate Robyn Denes wasn't buying it.

The fact he had made repeated purchases under $100 at the same businesses didn't help his case.

"Everybody knows that for purchases under $100 you don't need to enter a pin code," she said.

"On the balance of probabilities I find that (explanation) completely implausible."

Noting Smith's lengthy criminal record and the fact he had recently come off a suspended sentence , the magistrate said there were concerns he would commit further serious offences and refused bail.

Smith returned to court later in the day to plead guilty to larceny, obtaining benefit by deception, resist police, two counts of possession of a prohibited drug, and possession of a prohibited weapon.

He has been sentenced to nine months' jail, with a six month non-parole period, and will be eligible for parole in December.



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