Lancashire woman duped brides-to-be online
A clairvoyant has been spared an immediate prison sentence after setting up a Facebook wedding goods scam, duping brides-to-be out of cash meant for their big day
Mother-of-five and convicted fraudster Abigail Caunce, 26, formerly from Leyland, set up fake accounts and used false names to advertise non-existent place settings, table pieces and chair covers, enticing victims to buy them for their receptions.
They were left distraught, as well as out of pocket when their purchases never arrived, Burnley Crown Court heard.
The hearing was told when the victims tried to find out what was going on, the ex-con had either shut the account down and moved on to another one under another name or made excuses.
Caunce netted almost £1,500 from her “sophisticated” and “persistent” swindling, getting victims to send money directly into bank accounts, including the account of her now-estranged husband. Christopher Caunce, 28, laundered his wife’s ill-gotten gains to the tune of £568.
Abigail Caunce, who previously featured in a series on unusual jobs in the Lancashire Post, was spared immediate custody after admitting 13 offences of fraud and money laundering.
She has already served six months behind bars, after being convicted of eight offences of fraud by false representation in 2012.
Her co-defendant, of Ward Street, Lostock Hall – where he lives with his mother-in-law – pleaded guilty to six counts of money laundering.
Helen Longworth, defending Abigail Caunce, said she had developed a new empathy for the victims and would pay back her victims if she could.
Abigail Caunce, who now lives in Skelmersdale, received 33 weeks in prison, suspended for two years. She was ordered to pay £1,490 compensation and £500 costs. Christopher Caunce was given a one-year community order and must pay £260 costs.
Sentencing Judge Ian Leeming, QC said the deception was ‘sophisticated’ and ‘considerable’ but accepted she was genuinely remorseful.
Abigail Caunce previously told the Post she was born to be a clairvoyant, as part of a series on people with unusual jobs in 2015.
At the time, she said: “I see spirits all around.”