Woodford Green woman, 27, fined over iPhone fraud
PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 September 2014
A Woodford Green woman has received a fine for claiming she had lost her iPhone when she had sold it.
Amanda Bennett, of Bentley Way, called police in July and told them her device had been snatched on the Tube between Liverpool Street and Woodford.
But it emerged the 27-year-old had in fact pawned the iPhone 5 at an Ilford gadget store, British Transport Police (BTP) said.
Det Con Martin Wilson said officers were able to trace the phone to the shop using the “latest technology” and “partnership investigations”.
He added: “After talking to shop staff, it became clear that far from being the victim of theft, Ms Bennett had in fact pawned the phone the previous month.
“I later discovered that Ms Bennett had also contacted her insurance company and made a claim for compensation, saying her iPhone had been stolen.”
Police arrested Ms Bennett and on August 27 she was given a 12-month conditional discharge and fined £190 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to wasting police time and fraud by false representation.
On Monday, BTP warned officers were cracking down on so-called smartphone “theft” fraudsters.
Det Con Wilson said: “While the vast majority of people who report stolen phones and tablets to the police do so in good faith, a small proportion do so dishonestly in a deliberate attempt to make money by selling these gadgets and then claiming further cash via fraudulent insurance claims.
“This swindle is not a victimless crime. It wastes hours of valuable police time spent investigating bogus offences and skews the crime figures for railway stations and Tube lines, meaning officers could be targeting stations based on inaccurate intelligence, giving the real thieves more space in which to operate.”
He went on: “If you are unfortunate enough to lose property while travelling on the train or Tube, think carefully before reporting it to the police.
“You must have an honestly-held belief a crime has been committed in order to make a report.”
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