Gemma Badley the Facebook Fraudster who conned vulnerable people out of hundreds of pounds has escaped jail, she was only caught when she attempted to use one of Psychic Sally’s fan’s details to take out a £500 payday loan.
Badley took on the identity of Physic Sally to fuel a gambling and alcohol addiction. Cleveland Police found boxes of alcohol at the home of jobless Badley’s Hartlepool. She had bought the alcohol over the internet with her innocent victim’s money.
She targeted vulnerable people who wanted contact with those they had recently lost, looking for answered they turned to who they believed was Psychic Sally some paid her £10,00 a time others went further and shared their banking details.
Cleveland Police discovered that she had taken £750 from a victim’s bank account and added it straight into an 888.com gambling account.
HSBC bank launched an investigation into the disappearance of the money with her lawyer Neil Taylor saying: “It wouldn’t have taken any great detective work to work out where that money had been put in”
The solicitor added Badley had defied a speech impediment to bag a good job, but an “addictive personality” lead her down a spiral of despair.
“She was a young girl who found herself a good job who, for whatever reason, finds herself short of money and very sadly turned to gambling on the internet,” added Mr Taylor.
“(That) gambling addiction has caused her to lose her job, lose her home and caused her to be in rent arrears.”
While Badley was struggling on just £500-month after losing her job she hatched her plan to become Psychic Sally scamming people out of hundreds of pounds.
She would go on to claim that she was the real star and would offer customers readings from as little as £10 once the money was in her bank she would simply block the customer on facebook so they could not contact her again.
Sally Morgan has said that they believed at first it was a bit of a joke but things got out of hand and frightening when she was doing it in her name and Cleveland Police did not want to know and refused to investigate the incident saying “At first we thought it was a bit of a joke but it got quite frightening that she was able to do this in my name and no one wanted to know.”
“It was a bit scary what she was doing. We put pictures on Facebook and within literally three minutes she had taken them and set up a new account.”
Sally Morgan’s business manager contacted the fake Sally Morgan and paid £20 in order to expose the fraud
Eventually, Sally Morgan’s business manager coughed up £20 to Badley for a “reading” in order to expose the fraud.
Once Badley was exposed she wrote a letter in which she confessed everything and requested her 19 other offences be taken into consideration during sentencing.
Neil Taylor told the court that Badley understands that she has done wrong and that she needs to be punished saying “She understands what she has done is wrong and understands you have to punish her,”
Ian Goodman sentenced Badley to 24 weeks in jail suspended for 18 months, She was ordered to pay £790 in compensation and will be referred to the probation service.