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British woman sentenced to two years for iPad scam
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Jan 3, 2014, 01:46 PM
A woman from Newton Aycliffe in the UK has been sentenced to two years in prison for defrauding people in an iPad scam, the BBC reports. Kirsty Cox was found guilty of four fraud charges connected to taking thousands of orders for iPads between March and December of 2012. Cox claimed a contact could help her get the tablets for £50 to £100 off their retail prices, but she ultimately couldn't provide them.

In his ruling, Teesside Crown Court judge George Moorhouse said that Cox had "caused misery" for children last Christmas after "tricking" parents into thinking they could buy cheap iPads as gifts. The financial value of the scam is estimated to be worth at least £450,000, but prosecutor Shaun Dodds suggests that the impact on consumers was over £1.1 million.

Cox's one-time sister-in-law Karen Kennedy and her husband Saul explain that they took cash from co-workers and passed the money on to Cox, who they trusted. "I had a really close relationship with Kirsty and she had a really good reputation," says Karen. "She told me that she could get really cheap iPads and she had been supplying them to loads of companies and she just asked me to spread the word at my work. I trusted her 100% and I had no reason not to."

At one point during the scam, Cox bought £1.52 million in iPads from PC World and sold them at a loss in order to conceal her tracks. She was arrested in December 2012, and Durham Police had to keep her in protective custody after angry buyers visited her home, wanting to know what had happened to their iPads. The police note that one woman cancelled her own wedding in order to pay back the people she had borrowed money from in order to give to Cox.

Cox is said to have cried during sentencing. Moorhouse heard arguments that Cox's family had suffered while she spent six months on remand, but these were ignored. "You have two young children who suffered miserably while you were on remand. I am afraid they are going to suffer even more," he stated.
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Jan 3, 2014, 03:18 PM
So wait - does this mean that if something sounds too good to be true . . .

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Jan 3, 2014, 07:22 PM
I'm kind of curious what the endgame to her scam was; the linked article and its backstory pieces don't make that at all clear. The obvious would be to just up and run with the money, but that seems difficult with a couple of kids and a well-known ID.
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Jan 3, 2014, 09:15 PM

Possibly she was hoping to use new payments to cover losses on previous orders repeatedly to build up a huge number of customers, then bolt when the amount of money coming in reached a high point, but the turnover wasn't fast enough to make it work? That strategy can work -- the original Ponzi scheme, after which all the others are named, could have worked that way except that Carlos "Charles" Ponzi was too greedy to cut out even after the profits were well into the millions, and ended up getting caught.
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Jan 4, 2014, 12:01 AM
It's also quite possible that this scammer was serially scammed by another scammer, as well. It's not a stretch of the imagination to think that perhaps she actually thought she had a source or sources for sub-retail iPads, started taking money, realized she herself was being scammed, and tried a few times to cover her tracks (buying retail iPads to satisfy a few customers, etc.).
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Jan 4, 2014, 07:55 AM
You got it Vicar; she's a small time Madoff.
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