A pregnant woman became embroiled in a £14,800 money laundering scam after ‘naively’ answering an advert on Snapchat.

Paris King, who was aged 22 at the time, was experiencing financial problems when she spotted the online ad for a money lender.

Never having taken out a loan before, she simply checked out their positive reviews and contacted the person directly. They agreed to loan her £700.

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But Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard the man then asked to meet her outside NatWest in Newcastle, where he told her to withdraw funds.

It transpired that thousands of pounds had been paid into her bank account, which had been meant for a Leeds-based construction firm. It was the final instalment from a householder, who was having building work done.

An email purporting to be from the firm had been hacked and the client had been asked to transfer the money to a different account for ‘tax purposes’. But neither he nor the building company owner were aware the funds had been siphoned off. King’s bank account was the ‘mechanism’ for the scam.

Mark Brookes, prosecuting, said King, of High Grove Road, Trent Vale, tried to withdraw money from the bank as requested. Staff became suspicious and she was only able to get £750 from an ATM.

“The male asked her to go to a jeweller’s and buy a Rolex watch for £9,350,” he added.

The fraudster then pocketed this watch. Several other purchases were made from King’s account, although…

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