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Fraud mum spared jail for second time

PUBLISHED: 20:55 24 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:14 03 March 2010

A SINGLE Suffolk mother who pocketed more than £2,000 after tricking Madonna fans into buying tickets for one of her concerts on the internet narrowly escaped a jail sentence today.

A SINGLE Suffolk mother who pocketed more than £2,000 after tricking Madonna fans into buying tickets for one of her concerts on the internet narrowly escaped a jail sentence today.

A judge at Ipswich Crown Court found exceptional reasons for not sending 39-year-old Charlotte Madison to prison after hearing that her mother and step father were not well enough to care for her 13-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son.

Judge Nicholas Beddard said the offences Madison had committed were "calculated and elaborate" and she richly deserved to go to prison.

"The only thing that stops you going straight to prison is the situation of your children," said the Judge.

Instead he passed a nine month jail sentence suspended for two years and ordered Madison to pay compensation to her victims and to forfeit computer equipment that she had used in the offences that was seized by police from her home.

The court heard that Madison, of Naunton Road, Woodbridge, had invited people to bid for the Madonna tickets for her concert at Earls Court in July on the internet.

She was sent a total of £2,230 by three bidders who never received any tickets and were left out of pocket, said Anthony Bate prosecuting.

Madison had admitted three offences of theft committed between May and July this year.

The court heard that Madison had appeared in court on seven previous occasions for 26 offences of dishonesty.

Her last appearance had been December last year when she was jailed for nine months for offences of dishonesty involving more than £4,000 while she was working as a financial controller for Global International Trading in Needham Market.

Those offences had been committed between June and September 2000.

In December last year Madison was jailed for nine months after being found guilty of writing out company cheques to herself.

Jailing Madison on that occasion, Recorder Roderick Newton said Madison had a history of dishonesty stretching back 20 years and had demonstrated an entrenched pattern of dishonesty". Her sentence meant that her children went into care

But yesterday they were spared the same fate after her lawyer Matthew Gowan said that his client had herself entered into an auction for tickets for the Madonna concert but could not obtain the number of tickets for all the people who had sent her money.

He said that Madison had not re-offended since her release from custody and had found work which did not put her at risk of succumbing to temptation.

Mr Gowan said that if Madison was jailed today her children could stay with friends for two weeks but after that arrangements would have to be made with social services.

Madison told the court that during her last jail term her mother had looked after her children in their own home.

However her mother and stepfather were both unwell and would not be able to look after her children if she received another custodial sentence.

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