A WOMAN who ripped off customers in an iPad scam worth £450,000 wept today as she was jailed for two years.

Kirsty Cox was told by a judge at Teesside Crown Court that she had caused misery to her many victims.

Cox, from Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, pleaded guilty to two charges of fraud when she appeared at court in November.

Loading article content

The 37-year-old had already admitted two further counts of cheating customers with the scam at a previous hearing in July.

Today, she was told she faces having her finances scrutinised to see if any assets can be used to compensate her victims.

Under Proceeds of Crime Act legislation, she may have to sell her home as prosecutors look to claw back some of the money.

Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said individual victims lost between £400 and £232,000 in the scam between August and December 2012.

When police were finally called, they found a mob of "disgruntled customers" outside of Cox's home, the court heard.

The mother-of-two claimed she could get cut-price iPads and took orders for thousands of them from friends and colleagues.

Paul Cleasby, mitigating, said she paid full price for the tablets from High Street stores to meet the demands - but sold them cheaper.

He described her business model as "ludicrous and frankly bizarre" and said she had not made any money from the venture.

"There was no planning, there was no sophistication," he said. "It seems to have been a snowball effect which quickly turned into an avalanche."

Cox, of Wellbury Grove, Newton Aycliffe, took thousands of orders but failed to deliver them in the run up to Christmas.

Judge George Moorhouse told her: "Although you had no personal gain, other people - through your false representations - have suffered considerable loss.

"It has also caused misery to some people, especially young children, who were expecting presents which never arrived."

Were you a victim of the scam? Contact our newsdesk in complete confidence on 01325 505065