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cruel crime Man duped teen (15) into paying €450 for a bag of sugar he thought was an iPhone

Brandon Maughan had met with the teenager and shown him a legitimate iPhone and receipt which was registered in his own name.


iPhone. Library photo (Daniel Law/PA)

iPhone. Library photo (Daniel Law/PA)

iPhone. Library photo (Daniel Law/PA)

A 22-year-old man has been convicted of fraud after he duped a 15-year-old boy into paying €450 for an iPhone 8 which he then swapped for a bag of sugar before the transaction was completed, a court has heard.

Brandon Maughan was convicted in his absence after he failed to appear at Swords District Court.

Issuing a bench warrant for sentence, Judge Dermot Dempsey said Maughan had perpetrated a “despicable fraud on this young man”.

The court heard how Maughan had met with the teenager and shown him a legitimate iPhone and receipt which was registered in his own name.

The defendant was a passenger in a car when the meeting took place in the carpark of Kealys Pub, Cloughran on January 2nd, 2018.

After inspecting the phone the teenager agreed a price with Maughan but when he opened the bag after the defendant left the scene he realised the phone and box had been swapped for a bag of sugar.

In his evidence to the court, the injured party said he saw the phone for sale on DoneDeal and phoned the number related to the ad.

He spoke to the defendant and arranged to purchase the phone the next day.

The young man, who was 15 at the time, said he offered to collect it but the defendant wanted to meet at Kealys Pub as he was going to work at 5pm.

He said Maughan gave him the serial number and IMEI number from the phone and he contacted Apple to make sure everything was legitimate and the phone was not stolen.

On January 2nd the teenager, accompanied by his father, went to meet Maughan.

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He said the car went down to the very back of the carpark where there was no CCTV and he told the defendant to come up and meet him where he was just outside the pub.

The victim said Maughan, with an address at Bay 2 Collinstown Park, Forest Road, Swords, was in the passenger seat and he spoke to him through the window.

He showed him the phone and the teenager checked to make sure the serial and IMEI number were the same, which they were.

The defendant also showed him a receipt for the phone which was registered to Brandon Maughan.

“I asked him was that him and he said it was,” the teenager told the court.

The injured party then began negotiating a price for the phone, he offered €400 but Maughan wanted €500 and the pair eventually settled on a figure of €450.

However, the teenager said when he handed the phone back to Maughan to get the money the defendant “made a big scene”, said he wanted €500 for it and the car drove forward a short distance away from the would-be buyer.

He said the car then reversed back and Maughan said he would take the €450 for the phone but in that time he had replaced the phone and box in the bag with a bag of sugar.

The young man only realised what had happened when he opened the grey washbag after the car drove away.

The victim tried ringing Maughan but couldn’t get through.

After he called gardaí and reported the incident, the defendant started ringing back and making threats saying “don’t f**k with me” and “how’s your sugar”, the youth man told the court.

Garda David Cahill said he attended the scene and spoke to the injured party who had outlined what happened and gave a description of the car involved and the man he had dealt with whom he described as heavy set, with a scar on his chin and a green anorak with a fur collar.

He said he obtained the CCTV from Kealy’s Pub which showed the transaction taking place and he also obtained footage from the phone shop which shows the actual purchase of the phone.

The phone bought in the shop had the same serial and IMEI number as the one the injured party had attempted to buy, Garda Cahill added.

The garda said he showed the CCTV to a colleague who identified a man in the footage as Brandon Maughan.

Defence barrister Annette Kealy sought a direction from the court claiming the State’s evidence was all circumstantial.

However, Judge Dermot Dempsey said he was “quite satisfied” the State had more than adequately shown that Brandon Maughan had purchased the phone and had “perpetrated this despicable fraud on this young man”.

He convicted Maughan at the district court and issued a bench warrant for sentencing of the defendant.

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