Sydney man narrowly avoids jail over alleged puppy scam

A Sydney man has narrowly avoided jail for his role in a scam that conned prospective pet owners out of their hard-earned money with the false promise of a puppy.

Jem Pablo was arrested in Sydney’s CBD in May 2021 after several victims came forward to police.

The IT specialist claimed he was also swindled by his employer, who originally hired him to conduct search engine optimisation.

A Sydney man has narrowly avoided jail for his role in a scam that conned prospective pet owners out of their hard-earned money with the false promise of a puppy. (9News)

Not long into the role, Pablo began acting as a money mule between his boss and 61 people who’d answered an online advertisement for a canine companion.

Pablo went along with it, even after learning the clients were being tricked into handing over a deposit with the promise of a designer dog that never existed.

He opened 29 bank accounts and collected $172,000, from which he took a $35,000 cut before investing the rest into Bitcoin.

A Sydney man has narrowly avoided jail for his role in a scam that conned prospective pet owners out of their hard-earned money with the false promise of a puppy.Jem Pablo was arrested in Sydney's CBD in May 2021 after several victims came forward to police.
Jem Pablo was arrested in Sydney’s CBD in May 2021 after several victims came forward to police. (9News)

The head of the scam has never been located.

Pablo was cooperative with police and pleaded guilty to five charges.

The court heard he was supporting his family in the Philippines and was addicted to ice.

But the judge slammed the offender for his role in the sophisticated operation, which took advantage of vulnerable people who were seeking comfort from pets during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Pablo’s shoulders dropped when he was told jail was on the table.

He was spared only by the help he gave detectives and his admissions.

He’ll be supervised for two years, sent to rehab and ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service.

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