Facebook fraudster ‘pretended to be dead’ after duping brides

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A FRAUDSTER who set up a Facebook page selling wedding dresses took the money from would-be brides without sending them goods – and then told them she had died when they complained.

Caroline Oates, 21, pocketed nearly £3,000 and even offered unsuspecting buyers a chance to win a dress if they bought raffle tickets, with the proceeds supposedly going to a cancer charity.

One victim said some women had to cancel their wedding because they could not afford to reorder elsewhere.

When Oates – who spent the money on bills, food, loans and a new fridge freezer – was contacted by customers she “fobbed them off with lies”, a court heard.

Pontefract magistrates heard that Oates pretended to be another family member and claimed Caroline had been taken to hospital.

Diane Gomersall, prosecuting, said: “She told them she was Ellie and not Caroline and that Caroline was poorly, then told them that Caroline had gone into intensive care.

“She even made the excuse, which was a lie, that Caroline had died.”

The court heard that between January and April last year, Oates, of Barnsley, managed to rake in £2,898 through her Happy Days Events page. In 18 cases not one person got any of their items, with people depositing between £30 and £385 into her account.

Mrs Gomersall described the victims as “all living on low budgets and trying to plan special events dear to them”.

Oates, who pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation last month, was jailed for 26 weeks.

Scam victim Sandra Potterton, 48, who is due to marry Frank Dougan, 52, said: “It’s upset quite a few people; some of the customers had to cancel their weddings because they can’t afford it all over again.”

Another victim said she felt “abused and angry” and was now on anti-depressants.