Scammer demanded reward money but never had missing cat

(Nneirda/Fotolia)

(Nneirda/Fotolia)

Tony Blais, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:58 PM ET

EDMONTON -- A man who scammed $1,740 from a woman who had posted a reward for her missing cat was ordered by a judge to seek counselling on Friday.

Maxwell Fleming, 20, was handed an eight-month jail term -- which was deemed already served due to time spent in pre-trial custody -- and placed on probation for one year after pleading guilty in Provincial Court to extortion.

Court heard that Athra Alou lost her cat sometime in August 2012 and had put up posters in her neighbourhood offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who found it.

On Sept. 1, 2012, about 10 p.m., Alou began getting texts from Fleming saying that he had the missing feline.

When she asked for proof, Fleming replied: "Sorry. If you want your cat, then I need the money before I come to you. It's completely your choice."

Court heard Alou agreed to send all the money she had, which was $1,740, and Fleming, using a fake name, helped her do a wire transfer. Alou heard nothing back until the next day, when Fleming texted saying he wanted the balance of the reward money.

Fleming also asked Alou if she wanted to see a video of the cat and wrote: "OK, he's going to be in a slow cooker, is that OK."


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