Teenager sentenced for fraud after lying about ill children


A teenager who conned people she contacted via the internet out of thousands of pounds by creating hard luck stories involving ill babies, has today been sentenced to three years at Basildon Crown Court. Katie Ringer, 19, also sent images of children with offensive, lewd and racist remarks though an online messaging service, the court heard.

Ringer, from Shoebury, admitted 23 charges at Basildon Crown Court in November. The dates the offences were committed were between August 2012 and June 2014 and included eight charges of harassment, 14 of fraud, and one of threatening to destroy or damage property.

Senior District Crown Prosecutor for the CPS in the East of England, Punam Malhan said: "Ringer fraudulently made more than £2,000 from people who believed her tragic stories about ill children, which were all untrue. She took advantage of their kind and generous nature, and gained financially by telling stories, for example of needing money for a dead daughter's funeral, among many other creative tales."

"Ringer also set up fake profiles on Facebook, using other people's pictures of their children in her scams and uploaded pictures with racist messages and comments. In one communication she also threatened to blow up one of her victim's homes. In this instance, these victims took these threats extremely seriously and feared for their lives.

"Ringer had no regard for the damage she caused and the untold effects her criminality has had on her victims - not just the financial loss but on their general well-being. She continually abused people via the wholly inappropriate use of social media outlets for her own gain.

"We hope the sentence handed down today shows how committed the CPS is to prosecuting cases of this nature and sends a message that malicious communications will not be tolerated."