Llanfyllin woman netted £1.1k in hot tub fraud

Reporter:

Court Reporter

A LLANFYLLIN woman fraudulently advertised hot tubs for sale in order to gain money to pay off pay day loans and catalogue debts.

Yasmin Sides, 22, of High Street, advertised hot tubs for sale online, and gained a total of £2,670 in six separate transactions.

She paid back £1,520 to customers, when it was discovered there were no hot tubs.

However she scammed one victim, Charlie Penna from Cornwall, out of £1,150.

Miss Penna ran a hot tub business, and was in the process of setting up a business to give hydro therapy to her disabled daughter, and to other people in her community with disabilities.

To cover up the alleged fraud, Sides downloaded a voice changing app on her phone, so the victim would think she was in fact talking to a man. The offence occurred in October 2016.

At Welshpool Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, Sides was given a community order after admitting fraud by false representation to make a gain of £1,150.

Helen Tench, prosecuting, said six people had seen advertisements for ‘fake’ hot tubs, and transferred money to a bank account.

The money that wasn't paid back was to Miss Penna, who runs a hot tub hire business in Cornwall.

She was looking to add to her stock, and saw adverts on the sale site Gumtree.

She brought a brand new piece of equipment for £150, which was agreed to be delivered.

An exchange over text message took place, and a delivery was agreed, and in the exchange she said she had been a victim of fraud before, and was wary.

However, the ‘man’ on the phone, directed her to his website where she could find information about the business.

Further money transfers took place for goods, one for £700, and in the end stood at £1,150.

The goods were due to be delivered in nine weeks time, but when the date passed, Miss Penna had received no items.

She repeatedly contacted ‘Craig’, now known to her as Sides, and asked where the items were.

At the end of November, after a number of weeks had passed, she realised she had been the victim of fraud.

In a victim impact statement, Miss Penna said she had been devastated by the incident, and had wanted to give hydro therapy to her daughter and other people in the community.

She said she was in denial that it was fraud, and is embarrassed and her mental health has been affected.

Police visited Sides’ home, where she admitted she had deliberately placed the adverts, and at no time had any of the items been for sale.

She also admitted downloading a voice changing app, which changed the sound of her voice into a male.

Sides  told police she committed the act to pay back pay day loans.

Representing herself, she admitted it was a horrible thing to do, and said she was really sorry for what she has caused the victim.

She said she had offered to pay the money back, but had received no details from the victim.

She added she didn't wish to cause the victim this amount of stress.

Sides was made subject to a 12 month community order, with rehabilitation days, and was put on a 12 week curfew from 8pm to 7am.

She was ordered to pay back £1,150 in compensation, £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

See full story in the County Times

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