The man stood accused of using false listings for construction equipment on buy-sell site Blocket to collect 175,000 kronor ($26,800) in deposits from four unsuspecting customers for machines that didn't exist, the local Skaraborgs Allehanda newspaper reported.
During his trial, the 21-year-old explained that he'd been threatened by a criminal gang that claimed he owed them money. If he didn't pay up, the man's brother was at risk for reprisals. He then opened a bank account into which the money was deposited. While it was proven that the man also withdrew money from the account, he claimed he then handed the money over to someone else.
"The defendant has put forward relatively detailed information about what lay behind his actions and one can't draw the conclusion that what he described is something he didn't himself experience," the Skaraborg District Court wrote.
In acquitting the man of fraud charges, the court found that prosecutors failed to provide sufficient evidence to disprove the 21-year-old's claims he was acting in self-defence out of concern for his brother, or that he had handed the money to another person.
Taking into consideration that another's live was in danger, "the district court finds that his actions aren't indefensible".