Littleport Woman Took Cash From Friends In Christmas Savings Club Scam

PUBLISHED: 09:54 26 February 2010 | UPDATED: 11:13 04 May 2010

Christmas savings club scam

Christmas savings club scam

HARD up Michaela Wicker tricked two trusting friends into handing over £900 they thought was going into a Christmas saving club. But throughout the nine-month scam, Wicker pocketed the cash – so Betty Berry and her mother Ethel Walker were left without th

HARD up Michaela Wicker tricked two trusting friends into handing over £900 they thought was going into a Christmas saving club.

But throughout the nine-month scam, Wicker pocketed the cash - so Betty Berry and her mother Ethel Walker were left without the money they had saved to celebrate the festive period.

Forty-two-year-old Wicker was taking £100 each month, promising her friends she would deliver it to a representative of the Park savings club.

"Everything ran smoothly until about November, when no vouchers were received," Ely magistrates were told by Laura Mardell, prosecuting.

"They tried to contact the defendant, but she did not return their calls or messages.

"Betty Berry knew a legitimate Park representative, who did not know anything about her collecting money for the company.

"A check with the company showed they had no record of any money received from the two women."

Wicker, of Wisbech Road, Littleport, admitted two charges of fraud, committed between January 1 and September 30.

The scam began when Wicker asked Mrs Berry if she was intending to save with Park, said Miss Mardell. She suggested that she could collect money, and hand it to a Park representative.

"Mrs Berry considered the defendant a trusted friend and each month the defendant was given £100 a month, £50 from Mrs Berry, and £50 from her mother Mrs Walker.

"Mrs Berry feels totally let down by the defendant, she took advantage of their friendship and abused hers, and her mother's trust."

Solicitor Jacqui Baldwin said Wicker felt a sense of shame and remorse.

"Her partner used to play darts with Mrs Berry, they became friends, and that friendship was abused."

Wicker's husband left her 10 years ago, and she got into considerable debt, added Miss Baldwin. "Her home in Little Downham was repossessed, so she took part in the fraud, she feels terribly ashamed.

Wicker now has a new partner and works full time.

The court ordered Wicker to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work and pay £900 compensation and £85 costs.

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