Internet fraudster's sentence cut back to three years

The Internet fraudster recently sentenced to five years' jail has had his term cut back to three years on appeal. Justice Randerson in the Auckland High Court said that while District Court Judge David Harvey had been right 'to take into account the difficulty of detecting this type of fraud and the likelihood that it would increase having regard to the widespread use of the Internet and the increase in electronic commerce,' his original sentence was too harsh.

The Internet fraudster recently sentenced to five years' jail has had his term cut back to three years on appeal.

Craig Ian Henderson was convicted of a variety of offences committed between August and October last year – the bulk of them relating to his purchase of various goods over the Internet using stolen credit card numbers. He apparently obtained the credit card details using an illicit credit card number generator on the Internet.

Auckland District Court Judge David Harvey sentenced Henderson, who had already served a short term of imprisonment for similar offences, to five years. In his judgement he said a message must be sent to those who engaged in computer fraud over the Internet that this type of offending would be dealt with "most severely".

Harvey, a longtime Internet user who maintains a number of Websites, is widely reckoned to be more aware of Internet issues than any other judge in the country.

Justice Randerson in the Auckland High Court, who heard Henderson's appeal against sentence, noted in a reserved decision released on May 4 that "researches of counsel have not revealed any previous case dealing with fraud charges of this nature involving the use of the Internet".

He sought instead to weigh the case against one of conventional credit card fraud involving about $27,000 – less than half the sum in Henderson's case.

Justice Randerson said it had been proper for Judge Harvey "to take into account the difficulty of detecting this type of fraud and the likelihood that it would increase having regard to the widespread use of the Internet and the increase in electronic commerce," but said he had failed to give sufficient weight to Henderson's early guilty plea and the scale of offending.

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