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Fraudster conned man into buying 'low spec' laptop


John Stokes was trying to cover his losses by selling laptop

John Stokes was trying to cover his losses by selling laptop

John Stokes was trying to cover his losses by selling laptop

A father of five used fake receipts to defraud a man into buying a laptop for more than it was worth after advertising the computer online.

John Stokes (29) was trying to cover his own losses on the computer when he met the buyer in a fast-food restaurant and tricked him into thinking the laptop it was "higher spec" than it really was.

Stokes, of Coney Park, Coneyboro, Athy, Co Kildare, admitted using receipts as false instruments.

Dublin District Court heard Stokes had put up an ad for a "high-spec" MacBook laptop online for €1,400.

The victim responded to the ad and met Stokes at McDonald's in the Ilac Centre on March 1, 2017. When the victim inspected it, the serial number on the laptop's base showed a lower specification than what had been advertised, a garda sergeant said.

The man did not want to proceed with the purchase but the accused produced two receipts and said the base showed a different serial number as it had been replaced.


The victim completed the purchase and only later discovered that the laptop was of lower specification and was worth "considerably less than what was paid".

Stokes was "not a stupid man" and came into a situation where he bought a laptop and "noticed the anomaly", his lawyer said. Instead of "tackling the situation in the way he should have" he decided to make up his losses by passing his problem to someone else, the court heard.

It was the wrong thing to do morally and ethically and was a bad decision which he "regrets hugely", his lawyer continued.

"Does he know the difference between right and wrong?" Judge Bryan Smyth asked.

The accused did know the difference and accepted he had behaved in a criminal fashion and that it was indefensible, his lawyer said.

Stokes was hoping to got to the US to work and this would be difficult with a conviction for dishonesty, he added. He had €500 in court.

Judge Smyth adjourned the case for a victim impact statement and for the payment of compensation.