A fraudster who made thousands of pounds by conning coin dealers has been ordered to repay £5,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Sarah Fenton, of Catforth Avenue, Marton, escaped a prison sentence when her scam, which took in more than 200 victims from around the world, was foiled by Blackpool’s Trading Standards officers.
The 38-year-old passed off fake coins as rare antiques to collectors via the internet.
Appearing at Preston Crown Court, Fenton was given six months to repay £5,000 and told if she failed to do so she would face three months in prison.
Judge Christopher Cornwall also ordered her to pay £6,000 in costs, with half of that due within six months.
Fenton was originally ordered to carry out 60 hours’ unpaid work as punishment for the con when she was sentenced in February this year.
She admitted the coins were fake and pleaded guilty to illegally trading in counterfeit coins and to possessing money gained through the sale of coins.
The court heard she sold the coins through specialist websites, posting them out to collectors 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 auction 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 court heard Fenton started the business in 2010 after finding herself unemployed, with coins she had bought at a collector’s fair which she did not realise were fake.
The real versions of some of the coins sold by Fenton are worth around £25,000.
Judge Cornwall also confiscated some of the tools Fenton had used in her crime including a O2 dongle, the hard drive for a Sony computer, 10 Tiffany and Co bags, four Rolex boxes, a Panerai box, business stationery and receipts and 32 antique coins.
Coun Gillian Campbell, cabinet member for housing and public protection at Blackpool Council, said: “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 and ordered to pay back some of the proceeds of her crime.”