Reece Piepers was a rising footy star with dreams of playing in the NRL. Now the 22-year-old has used up his savings and is in jail – with his sad demise laid bare in harrowing detail: ‘Everything he earned is gone’
A promising young footballer destined to play in the NRL ended up in prison after scamming innocent people on Airtasker to feed a gambling addiction that robbed him of his savings.
Reece Piepers, 22, was in the reserve leagues for the Roosters and Cronulla Sharks, but his dream of pursuing a career in footy was ruined when he developed a serious gambling problem.
For more than two years, Piepers, a qualified carpenter from Umina Beach on the NSW Central Coast, signed up for various jobs with Airtasker, but the work was never completed.
Instead, he asked clients to give him a deposit up front, then gave a series of excuses as to why he couldn’t do the work, pocketing $28,000 for himself in the process.
Piepers pleaded guilty to burglary, theft and dishonestly obtaining financial advantage through deception. He was sentenced in August to two years behind bars, with a non-parole period of 12 months.
He appealed the decision and after hearing the details of his demise, the NSW District Court on Tuesday ordered Piepers released from prison and ordered a sentence to be served in the community.
Reece Piepers, 22, scammed Airtasker users out of $28,000 over a two-year period
Reece Piepers’ tradiecon
Piepers appeared to have committed twelve violations. All but one involved the Airtasker job fair, where tradies and civilians do odd jobs for services rendered.
Piepers’ In fraudulent behavior, he agreed to perform a job at the service and then asked the customer to transfer him a deposit. He reportedly said he needed the money to buy tools for jobs like roofing, paving and laying floorboards.
But then he disappeared and repeatedly made excuses for why he couldn’t get the job done, such as that his workers suddenly became unavailable.
His first victim requested a floor paneling in November 2021. That person transferred $300 to Piepers after multiple requests to hand over the money.
In March last year he defrauded two more victims, including a man who had worked at Airtasker to help renovate his caravan as a surprise for his wife.
That victim had transferred more than 5,000 dollars to Piepers, but when no work started, he took the matter to the police.
In May last year, Piepers took $650 from a friend after hiring him to do some work in his house.
Piepers had broken into the house and stolen the money from a drawer.
When a neighbor caught him, he said it was “all good” and that his buddy had allowed him to go inside to get his tools.
One of his victims was a 65-year-old woman who lived alone.
She eventually handed over $750 to Piepers after he asked for a down payment for a paving job.
Piepers was in the reserve leagues for the Roosters and Cronulla Sharks, but his dreams of pursuing a career in footy were dashed when he developed a serious gambling problem.
Another victim handed over more than $7,000 after Piepers sent 11 payment requests – despite no work having been done.
In all cases, Piepers did not complete the work and did not repay the money.
Gosford District Court Judge Tanya Bright told the court on Tuesday that Piepers had been defrauded of a total of $28,000.
“All offenses are of a similar nature and relate to obtaining money for his gambling addiction,” she said.
‘Everything is gone’
Judge Bright said Piepers, who watched via video link from his prison green, had been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and had hoped to win the money to repay his victims.
Piepers had written a letter to the court apologizing for his actions, while his stepfather Clinton Fell said the family had noticed he spent a significant amount of time on Sportsbet.
Mr Fell said his ‘behavior completely changed’.
His stepfather suspected that Piepers had spent as much as $100,000 on gambling.
“Everything he made went into gambling,” the judge said.
“All the money from his work and football.”
All the money Reece Piepers earned from work and football ‘is gone’, NSW District Court Judge Tanya Bright said
Piepers has already been in pre-trial detention for four months and the judge has ordered him to serve the remainder of his sentence in the community.
Piepers was given an intensive community correction order, which will last until May 2025. He will also be placed under house arrest until March next year.
The judge said he had a better chance of rehabilitation by receiving gambling counseling outside prison.
“He has a long and prosperous life ahead of him, but gambling should not be a factor,” she said.
The judge said she wished Piepers well on his release, to which he replied “thank you for your help Your Honor.”