A FRAUDSTER who made thousands conning coin dealers has escaped a prison sentence – but could still be forced to return their cash.
Sarah Fenton’s scam took in around 200 victims from around the world as she passed off fake coins as rare antiques to collectors.
And this week the 37-year-old, of Catforth Avenue, Marton, was hauled before Preston Crown Court for her con, and ordered to carry out 60 hours unpaid work as punishment.
Now, Blackpool Council – whose trading standards department brought the prosecution – is pursuing a Proceeds of Crime hearing against Fenton in a bid to recoup some of the £13,000 her con made her.
Coun Gillian Campbell, cabinet member for housing and public protection, told The Gazette: “Victims from all over the globe were affected by the con carried out by Fenton.
“While she did not receive a custodial sentence we are pleased she has been brought to justice for her crimes.
“Further victims have been prevented from losing money by our officers’ hard work and the willingness of members of the public to give evidence.
“Additionally, we will be pursuing a proceeds of crime act hearing which is due to commence soon.”
Fenton had already admitted the coins were fake, pleaded guilty to illegally trading in counterfeit coins and to possessing money gained through the sale of coins at an earlier hearing.
She sold the coins through specialist websites, posting them out to collectors from as far away as Australia and the USA.
When Trading Standards searched Fenton’s home they recovered notebooks detailing her transactions, which showed around £13,000 was made through the sale of coins on website eBay and through PayPal.
Around £5,000 was given back in refunds, but Trading Standards has said it is impossible to calculate the exact total made because Fenton contacted some of her buyers directly and officers have not been able to contact them all.
The real versions of some of the coins sold by Fenton are worth around £25,000.
At her first hearing Blackpool Magistrates Court heard Fenton had started her business in 2010, after finding herself unemployed, with coins she had bought at a collector’s fair which she did not realise were fake.
Fenton had also admitted a false trademark offence involving a counterfeit Rolex watch box at an earlier hearing.