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Argos fraudster who made £5k in scam spared jail

By John Scott | Crime | Published:

A well educated young man who devised a sophisticated fraud to pocket almost £5,000 in six weeks has been spared jail.

Joseph Wolski tried to scam Argos staff before being found out

Joseph Wolski purchased a TV from Argos for full price before buying the same make and model from a different branch which had the set on offer at a special promotional price, a judge heard.

The 22-year-old then returned the second set, claiming it was faulty and asked for a refund using the receipt from the initial purchase and together with his bank statement as proof of the transaction.

He was given an Argos credit note covering the difference in price which was spent on items for his new flat, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

Wolski travelled to branches throughout the Midlands, while carrying out carbon copy frauds, said Mr Daniel Oscroft, prosecuting.

The first transaction which could be traced to the racket was carried out on March 1 last year but staff had no reason to doubt a transaction until March 17.

A member of staff suspected the defendant was not being truthful but was not certain it was fraudulent and allowed the deal to be finalised.

However the concern was mentioned to colleagues prompting an investigation, the court heard.

Wolski, who has A Levels in Maths, Economics and IT, used the same bank card throughout and Argos officials soon linked it to a string of bogus transactions prompting an all-stores alert.

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He got away with the racket on 40 separate occasions, involving £27,000 worth of deals for which he actually paid around £22,000, leaving him with a profit of about £5,000.

Then he was recognised by staff at the West Bromwich branch of Argos and arrested on April 13.

Mr Niraj Keshwala, defending, said: “He came across this loophole by chance and spent the money he made furnishing his new flat. He is willing to pay back any loss.”

Wolski, from Aylestone, Leicestershire, pleaded guilty to fraud and was given an eight month jail sentence suspended for two years with 200 hours unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay £250 costs and £5,000 compensation to Argos.

Judge Barry Berlin told him: “You set out quite deliberately on a systematic fraud. You got away with it the first time and decided to continue to consistently swindle Argos.”

John Scott

By John Scott
Reporter/News Feature Writer

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