A Telford woman who conned a couple out of more than £1,200 after claiming she would be a surrogate mother for them has been spared jail.
Samantha Cooks, 23, carried out the 'cruel and sophisticated' fraud by telling the couple she would be their child's surrogate mother when they failed to conceive after three attempts at using IVF treatment, Teesside Crown Court heard yesterday.
Cooks, of Ferndale Drive in Priorslee, told the North Yorkshire couple a series of lies about her background and her employment and said she had been a surrogate for a wealthy family in the Midlands, the court was told.
Cooks was given a nine month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with Probation Service supervision after she admitted fraud by false representation.
She was also ordered to pay £1,890 in compensation – including the money she took and the added costs the couple incurred after the fraud, which lasted for four months, began in March last year.
The court heard how the former York University student created a Facebook account in the name of the fictitious mother, and exchanged messages with the couple about her 'wonderful' experience.
In one posting she made under the guise of a woman with a different name, Cooks wrote that a woman had been delighted she had served as a surrogate mother.
The court was told Cooks suffered untreated psychiatric problems since she lost her four-month-old daughter to cot death in November, 2008.