Casey Cooper, a 24-year-old woman from Montrose Street in Belfast, has been given a suspended jail sentence after being accused of conning 29 people in a north coast holiday home scam. Cooper faced 29 charges of fraud by false representation between 6 May and 19 June 2022.
The victims had paid a deposit for a fake rental in Portrush after responding to an advertisement on social media. However, police were able to link Cooper to the scam through email and PayPal accounts, as well as IP addresses.
During a hearing at Belfast Magistrates’ Court, it was revealed that when she was arrested, Cooper admitted that she had created a fake profile, interacted with victims, and obtained a number of £100 deposits. She expressed her remorse, stating that she was very ashamed, embarrassed, and extremely regretful of her behavior.
The judge sentenced Cooper to four months in prison, suspended for three years in respect of each of the charges. Additionally, she was ordered to pay £100 in compensation to each of the victims.
Holiday rental scams are becoming increasingly common, and people are advised to exercise caution when booking a vacation rental online. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is, and potential renters should be sure to do their research and verify the legitimacy of the rental before making any payments.