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Villawood man charged over alleged hay bale scam to defraud fire and drought victims

Lucy Thackray and Jessie Davies, Thursday January 23, 2020 - 18:04 EDT
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Police have a arrested a man in Sydney's west over an alleged hay-selling scam. - Audience submitted

A man accused of defrauding drought-stricken farmers to the tune of tens of thousand dollars has been charged in Sydney.

Police said that earlier this week they became aware of posts on social media advertising hay bales for a discounted price.

The seller then requested an initial deposit for the fodder, but allegedly did not deliver any product.

Today a 27-year-old man was arrested at a Villawood property and taken to Fairfield Police Station, where he was charged with 13 counts of dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception.

The developments follow the formation of Strike Force Woden by the New South Wales Rural Crime Prevention team to investigate the scam.

Police will allege in court that the man fraudulently obtained more than $40,000 from 13 victims.

'Don't be embarrassed'

Police say the fraud victims are from the Far North Coast, Mid North Coast, Hunter Valley, Southern Highlands, Hills District, and the Oxley, Nepean, and Port Stephens areas.

Anyone who has lost money through a deceptive fodder sale is being urged to come forward.

"Please don't be embarrassed by the fact you may have fallen for this scam," said Detective Inspector Cameron Whiteside.

"The reason scams work is because they generally appear real, coupled with the fact you may be vulnerable.

"We want to hear from you and try make this terrible situation right."

The man has been refused bail to appear at Fairfield Local Court on January 24.


© ABC 2020

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