Published at 07:01h on March 18, 2023

Last update: March 18, 2023 at 07:05h.

A British man who used laminated banknotes to defraud machines at betting shops has been sentenced to 16 months in prison.

Michael Shaw, fraud, TikTok, Liverpool, UK
Michael Shaw, above, told his 70,000 TikTok followers that defrauding betting shops was not a “bad crime.” (Image: Merseyside Police)

But a judge at Liverpool Crown Court said that Michael Shaw’s expressions of remorse in court were completely undermined by an arrogant expletive-laden rant on TikTok.

Shaw, 38, and his brother, Paul Shaw, 39, both of Liverpool, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation on February 15.

Between September 2017 and May 2018, they targeted gambling machines in betting shops and pubs in towns across the north of England by using modified and laminated PS20 bills to create fraudulent credits. To pull the banknote out of the machine, the pair attached a plastic cord to it. In this way, the pair stole PS15,258.90 from more than 20 businesses.

‘No Shame’

But just hours after he pleaded guilty, Michael Shaw drunkenly addressed his 70,000 TikTok followers, describing himself as “the bookies fraudster” and a modern-day Robin Hood.

There’s no shame in this, I don’t feel embarrassed at all [about] what I done [sic],” he said in the hourlong stream. “I don’t care. It’s not about defrauding vulnerable persons, or anything like that. It’s about taking advantage of the bookies. People really, really need to get this. The bookies rob us.”

I am guilty. I’m guilty.”

“It’s not a bad crime, it’s something where you can actually hold your head high,” Shaw claimed. I beat the bookies. I didn’t go with ballys [balaclavas] on with f*****g guns going ‘give me all your money.’ I didn’t do all that, I didn’t go in with crowbars opening f*****g machines.”

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Better Life

Unfortunately for Shaw, local newspaper The Liverpool Echo caught wind of the rant and reported on it. At his sentencing hearing Wednesday Judge Garrett Byrne was not amused.

Shaw’s lawyer, Charles Lander, said his client understood he was now in a difficult position but insisted he was genuinely sorry for his actions. Byrne stated that Shaw was suffering from bipolar disorder and anxiety, and that he had lived a better life since the fraud spree. The court should not consider what a man says, but what he does. It undermines that you were ‘living a better life’ completely and shows an utter lack of remorse and lack of understanding of the harm that this offending causes to businesses.”

[The TikTok episode]Ultimately, Shaw’s social media antics earned him an additional four months in prison.

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