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Man pleads guilty to $85,000 credit card scam

A man amassed more than $85,000 in five months by manipulating stores' eftpos systems, deceiving banks into giving him victims' credit card details and changing pin codes on their accounts.

Adam Weishaupt, 31, pleaded guilty to 53 charges of theft, obtaining a financial advantage and property by deception and making false documents, at County Court this morning.

The court heard that over a number of months in 2000, Weishaupt, then aged 19, and his then girlfriend withdrew money from the bank accounts of 29 victims across Australia and used their credit card details to fly interstate to target different banks and avoid getting caught.

Together they withdrew $75,401 from ATMs using other people's account details. They also bought domestic flights worth $8190.61 and fraudulently obtained eftpos refunds worth $1898.

They stole $85,489.61 in total, none of which has been recovered.

Weishaupt's lawyer, Jessica Fallar, said her client and his then girlfriend — who was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder — were motivated to offend because both had long-standing drug addictions, and at the time used heroin on a daily basis together. They also wanted money to support their young family, as they shared a son, then aged about three.


Judge Carolyn Douglas said that the pair would have had to have been "rather alert" to commit the crimes. She said that the police fraud squad – which had investigated the crimes for more than six years before they could charge Weishaupt – had noted that it had taken longer than the average investigation.

"It was rather clever and sophisticated ... It's not just working for someone as a bookkeeper, it was quite innovative," she said. "You would have needed some skill in devising the plan but also in carrying it out you'd need a degree of clear-headedness to do so."

In 2006 Weishaupt was interviewed by police over the crimes and warned he may be charged, after which he moved to South Australia.

He returned to Victoria in April this year, after learning that his mother had been diagnosed with cancer.