Pregnant mother lured into £ 14,800 money laundering scam on Snapchat

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A woman was lured into a money laundering analysis after seeing an advertisement on Snapchat.

Paris King was in financial trouble when she saw an online ad for a money lender.

King, who was 22 at the time, had never taken out a loan before. She looked at their positive reviews and contacted the person directly, and they agreed to loan her £ 700, StokeonTrentLive reports.

Read more: Two 13-year-old boys rushed to hospital after being shot in Stoke-on-Trent incident

But Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court overheard the man asking to meet her outside NatWest in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, where he told her to withdraw funds.

As it turned out, thousands of pounds had been deposited into his bank account, which was for a Leeds-based construction company.

It was the last payment from a householder who had construction work done.

An email purported to be from the company had been hacked and the customer was instructed to transfer the money to another account for “tax purposes”.

But neither the construction company nor the owner knew that the funds had been embezzled into King’s bank account, which was the “mechanism” of the scam.

Prosecutor Mark Brookes said King, of High Grove Road, Trent Vale, attempted to withdraw money from the bank as requested. The staff became suspicious and she was only able to get £ 750 from an ATM.

“The man asked him to go to a jeweler and buy a Rolex watch for £ 9,350,” he added.

The fraudster then pocketed this watch. Several other purchases were made on King’s account, although she denied knowing anything about them.

When the defendant was questioned by the police, she was asked if she had bought the Rolex under duress and replied “no”. Mr Brookes said she had shown “limited awareness and understanding” of the extent of the situation.

In a personal victim impact statement, the head of household who was defrauded of £ 14,822 said it caused him significant stress.

“The construction project was well advanced and could not be stopped,” he said.

The man was unable to recover the lost funds. Meanwhile, the court heard that the fraudster “had not been brought to justice”.

King, now 25 and caring for her young child, pleaded guilty to entering into or being involved in a money laundering deal between May 24 and May 30, 2018.

Debbie Leadbeater, attenuating, said that “nothing” by the accused caused the money to be transferred to the “wrong place”.

“It was used rather than anything else,” she added. “Young people these days use the Internet for almost everything. It is a huge problem now.

Describing the defendant as a “vulnerable” young woman, Ms Leadbeater told the court: “She made an effort to work with the citizens’ advice office, to sort out the financial side of her life.”

Judge David Fletcher said King had behaved “at best naive and at worst stupid”.

He added: “You would have thought the alarm bells – indeed, the bells of St. Paul – were ringing.”

The judge sentenced King to a 12-month community order, requiring him to perform 20 hours of rehab activity and 80 hours of unpaid labor.

“Due to your precarious financial situation, there is no compensation order,” he told her.

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