James McTaggart the owner of Bridge Computers was the mastermind behind the $37,615 festival ticket rort.
James McTaggart the owner of Bridge Computers was the mastermind behind the $37,615 festival ticket rort. Allan Reinikka ROK210313acompute

Cyber crims hit sour note with Falls Festival rip off

WHEN unsuspecting fans began snapping up Falls Music Festival concert tickets on Gumtree, little did they know they were be victims of an elaborate $40,000 con job.

They also didn't know that two Rockhampton computer whiz kids were behind the scam which would ultimately rip off 40 victims.

James Robert McTaggert and Tyler Patrick Keenan had devised a sophisticated scheme to systematically fleece customers.

The peculiar thing about this crime was they had no interest or need for the money - but had been looking for a hacking challenge to test their talents.

In 2014, the pair who are still in their early 20s, stole computer software, laptops and iPhones from the construction store next door to the workplace, Bridge Computers.

Entering through the internal door via key, the pair left no trace of their robbery and bamboozled police.

Using the equipment, they downloaded drop boxes containing bank details and drivers licences from which they forged new identities to sell the tickets.

It sounded like an ingenious plan until constant complaints to police saw the pair were tracked down through their IP addresses.

McTaggart and Keenan fronted the Rockhampton District Court on three charges. One count of entering a premises, one count of obtaining identification and the most serious, one count of fraud over $30,000 to which they both plead guilty to all.


Falls Music and Arts Festival at North Byron Parklands has finished.
Crowds flock to the Falls Music Festival in Byron, but not the 40 unlucky victims of the cyber scam attack from this Rockhampton pair. Evan Malcolm

Barrister Jordan Ahlstrand defending Keenan told the court that his client was not "the brains behind it all" and that everything was under McTaggart's name.

The court heard Keelan did not receive any of the $37,615 as it was all in McTaggart's name.

Mr Ahlstrand described it as a "reasonably" sophisticated crime, to which Judge Helen Bowskill QC scoffed.

"I think it is more than reasonably sophisticated," Judge Bowskill said.

McTaggart's counsel barrister Ross Lo Monaco told the court that his client will ensure the money will be repaid.

"This was not done for need. It was almost like he did it for a challenge," Mr Lo Monaco told the court.

Both defence barristers were asking for a two year sentence with immediate parole given their level of remorse, age and history.

While the lump sum approached the $40,000 mark, the highest individual sum lost was $2,000.


Falls Festival in Byron Bay where soaring temperatures and humidity made it a hot week of music. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Falls Festival in Byron Bay where soaring temperatures and humidity made it a hot week of music. Marc Stapelberg

Police prosecutor Molly Mahlouzarides countered by saying the "intellectual need" opposed to merely need was concerning.

Judge Bowskill spoke of how tragic it was to have two young men stand before her in such a manner.

"Plainly, while everything is McTaggart's name, you were both directly involved," Justice Bowskill said.

"It took significant thought, time and planning to keep this crime going. And it is tragic circumstances to see you both in court.

"To stand here is extremely serious. You have to be deterred from doing this. The community completely denounces this behaviour."

Mastermind McTaggart was given a head sentence of two and a half years while Keenan copped a two year head sentence. They will be eligible for parole after five and three months respectively.

The pair smiles and waved to their friends and family in the courtroom before being detained.

In 2013, The Morning Bulletin featured a story on McTaggart. He was 18 at the time and entering the business sector through Bridge Computers.

He spoke of a fixation with "selling stuff on eBay" which was the reason he started up the business.