Yorkshire fraudster tricked horse magazine customers to fund cosmetic surgery, hotel trips and designer clothes

Charmaine Rowan.
Charmaine Rowan.

A serial fraudster went on a £32,000 spending spree after tricking customers who advertised in an equestrian magazine into parting with their credit card details.

Charmaine Rowan bought cars, paid for cosmetic surgery, spent cash on designer clothes and funded trips to lavish hotels after duping customers of Horse & Hound magazine.

Leeds Crown Court heard Rowan committed the offence by pretending to be a member of staff of the weekly horse industry magazine.

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The 31-year-old contacted advertisers and told them payments had not been received and asked them for credit card details.

Within hours Rowan, also known as Charmaine McAllister, was using the information to commit offences.

Rowan - jailed for four years - paid for overnight stays and three-course meals at hotels in Blackburn and Trowbridge.

The mother-of-three managed to buy a Vauxhall Astra, worth £7,989, a Seat Ibiza, worth £3186, and a Citroen worth £6,286.

She later sold the CiTreon for £3,000.

Rowan also made an online order for Ralph Lauren clothing worth £457 from John Lewis.

Another order for £205 worth of Ralph Lauren goods was made on a second occasion.

Rowan used a victim’s credit card to pay for cosmetic surgery.

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The court heard eight advertisers with Horse & hound magazine were victims of Rowan’s scam.

In a separate offence Rowan used a back card stolen from an 85-year-old customer at Costa Coffee in Huddersfield town centre to withdraw £1,600 from a cash machine.

Rowan, of Manchester Road, Milnsbridge, pleaded guilty to 15 offences of fraud, receiving stolen goods and breach of a criminal behaviour order.

At the time of the offences, Rowan was out of prison on licence for a series offences which saw her branded ‘a plague to whole horse industry’.

Those offences resulted in her being made the subject of a criminal behaviour order banning her from contacting any person who has advertised horse or pony or related equipment for sale.

The order was made by Sheffield Crown Court in June 2015 and included a ban on attending any equestrian events in England and Wales.

On that occasion, McAllister was also jailed for 56 months after admitting 45 fraud and theft offences.

She had raided unattended horse boxes while female riders were competing and was described by Judge Peter Kelson as a ‘serious criminal and menace to all things equestrian.’

Rachel Smith, mitigating, said Rowan returned to committing offences when she lost her job when her employer found out about her criminal record.

Ms Smith said Rowan was under pressure to £200 maintenance for her children.

Jailing Rowan, Recorder Graham Cook said: “This was no ordinary type of fraud. You were well versed in how to carry out this kind of fraud.”