Horse breeder ‘disappointed’ as coke addict jailed
A WONDAI horse breeder said she felt disappointed after a 27-year-old man was sentenced to jail for a string of offences.
Nicole Armstrong lost $9000 when she was caught up in an interstate fraud case in December last year, orchestrated by Mathew Lewis Small.
He appeared in the Fairfield Local Court on Friday, April 17 via video link from Junee Correctional Centre, to be sentenced.
Magistrate Theo Tsavdaridis condemned Small for ripping off 24 vulnerable and unsuspecting farmers in 2018 and 2019.
He ordered the defendant to pay back $92,334 to his victims after deceiving them via a scam.
Mr Tsavdaridis told the court Small used a series of aliases to post online ads, offering discounted lucerne hay bales and firewood.
Small's defence lawyer Susanne Tenner said he was addicted to cocaine and was in debt to bikies, which was the motivation behind his actions.
He was sentenced to at least 18 months in jail after he was convicted on a number of fraud offences.
However, Mrs Armstrong said the outcome didn't reflect the pain he had caused.
"It's good he's sentenced, but the victims are certainly not happy with the small amount of time he has been put away for," Mrs Armstrong said.
"It really makes a joke of a legal system when this is the result, with no real deterrent at all.
"Our only hope is that we keep making him famous so everyone knows who he is."
Despite Small being ordered to pay back the money to his victims, Mrs Armstrong said she wouldn't hold her breath.
"As for the money I doubt we will see any, or all, and if we do I'll be old and grey because who's going to employ a drug addict willingly?
"Secondly, who would trust him? He's a thief and in this day and age just to live will make it near impossible to tussle up over $90,000.
"So, unfortunately, I am completely disappointed.
"Everyone went to a huge effort to make him responsible for his actions and it will take us a while to recover financially with everything that keeps getting thrown at us."
Small was originally convicted of three charges related to the fake sale of firewood in 2018.
However, he failed to appear in court, resulting in warrants being issued for his arrest.
The law eventually caught up with him earlier in the year when he was arrested at a Villawood property over the hay bale scam.
Mr Tsavdaridis sentenced the defendant to two years and four months for a series of crimes including fraud and thief.
He will be eligible for parole in July next year.
If you are a victim of rural crime, report it to your local police station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.