PayPal conman, 22, jailed for 16 months for fleecing victims out of thousands

Jacob Bailey, 22, of Rothesay Close, east Hull, was jailed for 16 months after he conned innocent sellers out of their money then frittered his earnings on drugs

This is the face of a sophisticated online conman who targeted innocent victims with fake PayPal sales on his unsuspecting friend’s account from his home in Hull.

Jacob Bailey, 22, was jailed for 16 months after he conned unwary sellers out of their money and items before frittering his earnings on a drug addiction.

Bailey started his latest campaign in August 2018 when he approached a man selling a Nikon camera online, Hull Crown Court heard.

Using a friend’s PayPal account, Bailey paid £800 for the camera, collected it and then the purchase was reversed from PayPal by the friend’s account, leaving the seller with no camera or money.

Just a month later on September 11, Bailey did the same again, instead contacting a man selling an iPhone 8 on Depop.

He paid £500, again through someone else’s PayPal account. And when the item was delivered to an address in Ansom Road, east Hull, the buyer got in touch with the seller, telling him the item had never arrived and he was refunded.

Rachel Scott, prosecuting, told Hull Crown Court Bailey targeted two more people with the same method before his arrest on July 7.

Bailey was due to surrender to Hull Magistrates’ Court on July 23 but did not, sparking a police manhunt to find him.

He was eventually found and arrested again on September 30.

Bailey’s first arrest did not stop him and before he was found by police, he advertised camping equipment on Gumtree and tricked two more sellers into parting with a MacBook and an iPod.

Bailey started his latest campaign in August 2018 by targeting a man selling a Nikon camera online, and continued through to August this year, Hull Crown Court heard

Bailey started his latest campaign in August 2018 by targeting a man selling a Nikon camera online, and continued through to August this year, Hull Crown Court heard

Ms Scott told the court: ‘The camping equipment was for sale for £240. The man contacted the seller who said he had more equipment available for £360.

‘The man paid £600 into an account and he was provided with a tracking number. When he checked when they would be delivered he contacted the man who said his account had been abused by a friend.

‘In late August this year, a student advertised a MacBook and another man named “Harrison” contacted him enquiring about a price. A price of £700 was agreed and on September 1, he received a notification saying the payment of £735 had been made.

‘The student delivered the laptop to an address in Hull and another man opened a dispute with PayPal to say he had not received the item.’

The man won the dispute and the student was left out of pocket and without a laptop.

He told the court in a victim impact statement: ‘I’m very annoyed. I believed the buyer was genuine but little did I know this was an act put on to try and con me.

‘I have been left without any computer and couldn’t do any work without the funds I would have used from selling it to buy another.

What were conman Bailey’s ill-gotten gains?

August 2018 – A Nikon camera worth £800

September 2018 – An iPhone 8 bought on Depop for £500

He targets another two victims before arrest in July

July/September 2020 – £600 from the faked sale of camping equipment on Gumtree

August 2020 – An Apple MacBook bought under the name Harrison worth £735.

‘I have had to borrow friends’ (devices) to do my work which is an inconvenience for me and them.’

The man said he has been put off selling in the future. 

Hull Crown Court heard Bailey has relevant previous convictions including two counts of making false representation, for which he was given a year long community order in June 2019 – making him in breach of that for his latest batch of offending.

Mitigating, Stephen Robinson told the court that at the time, Bailey was suffering from a cocaine and ketamine addiction.

He said: ‘He was taking large amounts of drugs. He was working at the time of the initial offences but his wages were not able to fund his addiction. He lost his job and his later offences were committed when he was out of work.

‘The people he was hanging around with encouraged this and now he has had time to reflect he knows it is unacceptable.

‘He is motivated to change.’

Mr Recorder Menary sentenced Bailey to 16 months imprisonment for fraud and failure to surrender, and told him: ‘This was a sophisticated manipulation of PayPal and people selling things online.

‘You simply flittered the money away on drugs. It was always likely to come back to you because of your usage of PayPal and use of your friend’s accounts.’

Bailey must serve up to half of his sentence in custody before being released on licence.