A WOMAN who played Nigerian internet racketeers at their own game and beat them, was being hailed a hero around the world today.
But she was still found guilty by a court.
Australian Sarah Jane Cochrane-Ramsey fleeced the Nigerian fraudsters of $33,350 Australian dollars (£22,000 US$35,000).
The 23-year-old had been employed by a gang of Nigerian scam artists who had set up a dodgy internet car sales business and was instructed to open a bank account so they could siphon off the cash they received through their dodgy account on a popular car sales website,
However, while she was allowed to take eight per cent of all the money paid into the account she held onto two payments and spent them on luxury items.
At Brisbane District Court Cochrane-Ramsey pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated fraud.
Judge Terry Martin described her as having a "dishonest bent" after hearing she had a history of stealing and property offences.
He adjourned the sentence to allow her time to provide further details of money she claimed was in a bank account that would allow her to make some repayments. She will be sentenced next month.
The scam eventually unravelled when people buying cars realised they were being ripped off and called the police.
Police discovered that the group ran their car sales 'business' using a New York web server but were based in Nigeria.
However, as news of the case broke websites across the world were flooded with messages of support.
Many wanted to know why the 23-year-old Australian had been prosecuted rather than the Nigerian gang.
Nigeria and its capital Lagos have long been linked to major internet frauds and scams.
Most internet security experts advise killing any email that even hints it may have originated in the African nation.