*File photo
*File photo

A 26-year-old man who defrauded two friends out of thousands of dollars was today jailed for 18 months.

Jonathan Ratteray took $3,400 from Marekco Ratteray and $13,940 from Sarah Robinson after he convinced them he could more than double their money in less than a week.

Between May 2 and 4, Marekco Ratteray called the defendant looking for a cheap car to buy and the defendant asked if he wanted to make quick money.

The court heard the defendant told him he had a friend overseas who worked on the stock market and could invest the money.

Jonathan Ratteray told the complainant if he gave him $2,000, he would give him back $4,000 within a week. He gave the defendant the money.

The next day, Marekco Ratteray gave the defendant an additional $1,400 to invest. The money was not returned within the allotted time and Jonathan Ratteray stopped all communication with Marekco Ratteray.

Marekco Ratteray then went to the police on May 6 and reported the incident.

Jonathan Ratteray was arrested in June and admitted he used the money to pay bills.

In the second incident, Jonathan Ratteray asked Ms Robinson if she wanted to make some money on June 12.

The court heard the complainant wasn’t working and expressed interest.

The court heard the defendant told Ms Robinson the money is sent overseas by Money Gram and is returned the same way.

Ms Robinson then told Jonathan Ratteray that is sounded like a “pyramid scheme”. She then asked him if there was documentation for her to sign so that she could be assured she would get her money back.

Jonathan Ratteray told her no because it was “underhanded”.

She gave him a total of $13,940 to invest for her between June 12 and June 26, with a promise of double the amount in eight days.

Shortly after handing over the money, Ms Robinson felt like she was being conned and called the police.

Jonathan Ratteray was arrested and said he used the money to pay bills.

In court today, Jonathan Ratteray said: “I just want to say that I know I have done something wrong, not just to Sarah, but also her son and I want to be able to give the money back to her.”

Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner said he has a history of “being a conman” and the defendant agreed.

“You have got to stop it because you hurt people”, the Magistrate said.

Jonathan Ratteray added: “I have a problem. I have been out there trying to work.

“I have washed dishes, I’m doing yard work. I’ll do anything.”

Mr Warner jailed the defendant for 18 months followed by three years probation. He must also repay the victims.