- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 6, 2017

An Australian court sentenced a former sports coach to over 5 years behind bars Friday for exhorting substantial sums of money from various women he met on Facebook, Tinder and other social networks.

Leigh Abbot, 37, was handed a 5½-year sentence Friday in Perth District Court for a manipulative scheme that netted him upwards of $120,000 (U.S.) from a dozen different women.

Abbott, originally from Tasmania, met nearly all of his victims on dating websites and social networking services, then asked them for monetary assistance to help pay for rent and other necessities, according to prosecutors.

He refused to pay his victims back when asked, however, and in three instances he threatened to distribute sexually explicit photographs of the women without their consent, a practice sometimes called revenge porn or sextortion.

In one case, according to prosecutors, Abbott threatened to send a biker gang to a woman who was seeking repayment. In another, he allegedly befriended a 74-year-old woman outside a shopping center and conned her out of more than a thousand dollars.

Abbott admitted the scheme to prosecutors previously, saying “it was just too easy to get the money,” Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported Friday, the likes of which he used to fuel problems with gambling and substance abuse.

“You’ve preyed upon vulnerable women,” Judge Bruce Goetze said Friday. “You betrayed their trust … and then you just brushed it all off by blaming your offending on your gambling and drug addiction.

“It’s truly despicable conduct,” the judge added.

Abbot, the former coach of the East Devonport Football Club in Tasmania, was sentenced to 5½ years Friday but will be eligible for parole after serving 3½, ABC reported.


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