Broke backpackers guilty of credit card fraud
TWO broke French backpackers who used stolen credit card details to pay for a swim in the Crocosaurus Cove cage of death instead ended up in the cage of a police paddy wagon.
"Ashamed" couple Valentin Longin, 25, and Alexia Aubry, 24, pleaded guilty to a string of credit card fraud charges in Darwin Local Court on Thursday.
The court heard the young couple both came from "good families" in France and were low on cash when they arrived in Darwin, having taken photos of the credit cards a month earlier in Perth.
Prosecutor Hamish Riley said the duo took photos of their victim's two Westpac credit cards in May.
The couple used the card details to book two tickets on the Darwin Big Bus tour, tickets for sessions in the famous cage of death and Airbnb accommodation in Darwin.
They later also purchased more than $4000 worth of goods in an online shopping spree, but cancelled the order after feeling guilty.
Aubrey told police shortly after the arrest "I feel horrible about what I have done", while Longin later that night confessed and said "I don't know, I don't normally do this, I'm not proud of this".
Defence lawyer Sheetal Balakrishnan said the two had no excuse for their offending.
Ms Balakrishnan said Aubry and Longin took equal blame for the offending.
"Both of them … said it was extremely stupid on their part," she said.
"Their financial situation at this point in their trip was not great.
"They saw the cards on the table and say they became tempted by those cards.
"It is certainly only an explanation, it is not an excuse for this behaviour."
Aubry, an aspiring air hostess, and Longin, who has a masters degree in management, arrived in Australia last October on a one-year visa.
Ms Balaikrishnan said the offending was out of character.
"They are deeply ashamed and embarrassed to be here today," she said.
Mr Riley said the offending was serious and involved "some degree of preparation".
"It's not trivial offending in my submission," he said.
Judge Michael Carey said the offending started as "an unplanned venture".
"Whatever you do you need to keep out of trouble while you're in Australia or you'll end up in one of our prisons," Mr Carey said.
The couple were both convicted, ordered to pay back their victim, and put on good behaviour bonds for six months.