Man defrauds war widow of nearly $200k
A SERIAL crook swindled nearly $200,000 from a war widow and nearly $13,000 from another woman, catfishing her on a dating app.
Michael John Davison, 39, pleaded guilty to several counts of fraud including personation when he faced Townsville District Court yesterday. The court heard Davison defrauded several "vulnerable" victims of more than $200,000 between September 2016 and November 2017, while on parole and bail for similar offending.
In August 2016, under a fake identity, Davison met a woman on Tinder and told her he was a geologist in the gold mines in Western Australia.
Davison managed to fleece $12,850 out of her, after lying about a work scheme that he needed to fund. He later warned the woman not to go to police as he had connections to a bikie gang, and her home was being watched.
Davison was arrested on July 6, 2017, for those offences.
While on bail for the fraud he committed against the woman he met on Tinder, Davison took $187,000 cash from a war widow after he promised to conduct building works and services around her home, which he never delivered.
He also defrauded another man of $20,000 after posing as a private investigator to assist with legal matters.
The court heard in conjunction with a co-offender, he defrauded a business owner of $16,500 after lying about six cars he had for sale, that were never delivered after accepting payment for them.
Crown Prosecutor Amanda Payne said Davison's numerous victims were "vulnerable".
"He shows little regard for court orders and little regard for the human beings he causes significant financial and emotional harm to," she said.
"Targeting a war widow when she would have been especially vulnerable is appalling behaviour."
Ms Payne said all of his victims were seeking restitution.
Defence barrister Michael Hibble said Davison wasn't in a position to pay back his victims, as he "doesn't have any of it". Judge John Coker said Davison's offending was "predatory" in nature.
"In seeking out those vulnerable in our society looking for support and perhaps of the dating sites actual love, that has been played on by you," Judge Coker said. Davison was sentenced to six years imprisonment, with 636 days served in pre-sentence custody declared as time already served. No restitution order was made.
A parole eligibility date was set for March 13, 2020.