A MAN who made a fake Facebook profile and used counterfeit cash to buy an iPhone 11 which was advertised for sale on the social media platform was caught when his fingerprints were found on £700 worth of notes he handed over to a 17-year-old in the Antrim town area.
Martin Maughan (20), with an address listed as Ross Rise in Belfast, admitted a charge of fraud by false representation in relation to December 9, 2019.
A prosecutor told Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, the defendant travelled to the teenager's home at 9pm and paid for the phone in sterling notes.
A short time later it was noted the serial numbers on the notes were the same.
Suspecting them to be fake a family member took the notes to a shop where a cashier agreed they were probably counterfeit.
Police seized the notes and they were confirmed as counterfeit and Maughan's fingerprints were found on the fake cash.
The defendant told police he used a fake Facebook profile and travelled to Antrim by train and walked to the teenager's house.
He told officers he was aware the notes were counterfeit and had no intention of paying for the phone and intended to keep it but "declined to state" where he got the counterfeit notes.
Maughan had a record.
Defence barrister John Paul McCann said at the time of the offence the defendant had been associating with "negative peers" but has now been engaging well with Probation.
He said the defendant had stayed out of trouble for almost a year and it was "refreshing" to see the "rehabilitative benefits" of Probation and Community Service with Maughan.
The defendant told the court he lost the phone.
District Judge Nigel Broderick warned if the defendant offended again he could go to jail and handed down a three months prison term, suspended for a year.
The court heard Maughan is on benefits and given his income the judge said he would not order him to pay back the full amount of the phone but £300.