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Telford woman stole almost £6,000 from pal in modelling fraud

By Deborah Hardiman | Telford | News | Published:

A Telford woman stole almost £6,000 from a former school pal in fees for modelling work that never materialised.

In exchange for fees Lauren Paget promised to find photo-shoot appointments that would pay her victim between £6,000 and £15,000.

Shrewsbury Crown Court heard that the defendant was paid sums totalling £5,905 which had come from her victim's inheritance.

The fraud related to the period November 21, 2015 to September 17, 2016.

Paget, 22, pleaded guilty to an offence of fraud at a previous hearing.

Prosecuting barrister Mr Kevin Jones said: "This case relates to this defendant's relationship and contact with the victim Ruth Gilliland-Simon(cor). They knew each other from school and became reacquainted while the victim was in Newport on a night out.

"During the evening the victim told the defendant that was coming into some inheritance money following the death of her grandfather. She told Paget that she would like to be a model to which the defendant replied that she could help her to get work."

He said shortly afterwards Paget sent emails to Miss Gilliland-Simon relating to an agency called 'Malteasermodels', they also exchanged phone numbers over Facebook and discussed modelling.

Mr Jones said: "After some reluctance the complainant decided to give it a go. At first she paid a couple hundred of pounds, then a sum of £1,500 in fees. Over the course of the next 10 months or so this defendant took thousands of pounds from the complainant claiming to find her modelling work.

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"Fortunately many of their conversations were on Facebook and this provided some insight to what was going on.

"There is talk of a contract, references to a 'legal department', talk of there being other employees or staff with names such as 'Olivia', 'Sophie' and 'Amanda'."

He said a promised appointments were also cancelled at the last minute and Paget billing for cancellation fees. He added that the fraud only stopped when the victim ran out of cash.

Mitigating barrister Miss Debra White asked the judge not send Paget, of Waverley, Brookside, to prison for the offences.

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Miss White said: "She has pleaded guilty to stealing shy of £6,000. But it is her first conviction and she was 19 at the time. These are all important factors that your honour can take into account to justify suspending any term of imprisonment."

Paget was sentenced to 46 weeks suspended for 18 months, 30 rehabilitation activity days. She carry out 180 hours unpaid work and pay £1,000 compensation to her victim.

Judge Anthony Lowe said: "Some friend you turned out to be."

"In my judgement this was unpleasant and very nasty. You knew what Miss Gilliland-Simon's dream was and you basically exploited that for your own financial gain."

He also told Paget that she was "fortunate" to get a community sentence and that she must comply with the terms or be brought back to court.

Deborah Hardiman

By Deborah Hardiman
@Deborahh_Star

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based out of the head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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