Single mother avoids prison for online scam

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A WOMAN from Waterlooville who took part in an online scam has avoided prison.

Cindy Smith, 33, of Mill Road, pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and possessing criminal property and was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for one year.

During her sentencing at Portsmouth Crown Court, the judge heard how the single mother was initially ‘unaware’ she was taking part in criminal activity when ordering clothes worth £5,076.

Tammy Mears, prosecuting, told the court: ‘The crown can’t say how the account details were hacked into or phished for. What we can say in terms of 26 orders were made from the company and that is in various guises and different names. Twenty-one were accepted and cost in excess of £5,000. The managing director of the company suspected fraud. There were 26 names used and they were all sent to the same address.’

Alistair Wright, defending, said: ‘It was her police interview that led to the significant development of the case. She appreciated what was being done was unlawful but not from the beginning.’

Judge Richard Price concluded: ‘I have to be very careful before sending a single mother to prison.’