A fraudulent ex-friend has been jailed by Liverpool Crown Court for 16 months after taking thousands of pounds off of an X Factor competitor while posing as an accountant.
Rebecca Ferguson was a runner up in The X Factor in the seventh series of the programme in 2010, and after coming under the spotlight, took on her friend, Rebecca Taylor, to handle her accounts, it has been reported.
Taylor convinced Ferguson that she was a qualified accountant when, in actual fact, she wasn’t.
Using her access to Ms Ferguson’s accounts, Taylor supposedly swindled the mother-of-two singer out of thousands of pounds, although it is difficult to pin point the exact amount.
It is said to have included £3,350 that was supposed to go into a trust fund for Ferguson’s daughter, Lillie Mae.
Taylor should have been registered as a chartered accountant or a certified accountant, the prosecutor, Barbara Webster said.
However, she was not, and the business which she had claimed she owned while convincing Ferguson to hire her, turned out not to exist.
“[Taylor] raised invoices as the accountant and defrauded Ms Ferguson, who paid the bills on the basis that she believed that Mrs Taylor was, in fact, a proper accountant,” Webster continued.
Taylor was paid £43,086 while working as Ferguson’s ‘accountant’, even though she was not qualified.
Speaking of the deception, and the continued manipulation the fraudulent accountant had over her, the singer said “My heart and my mind are broken by her crimes. As a result of everything, I cannot trust people, and I was always a naturally shy person. I now question everybody and it limits me socially.”
When hiring an accountant, you should always check to make sure that they are qualified and if they belong to an institute of accountancy and are legally registered as having passed the qualifications and have the experience necessary to do the job.
Judge David Aubrey QC announced that “In the court’s judgement you sought to exercise unscrupulous control and influence over your victim, Rebecca Ferguson.
“You were initially a friend of hers but the court is quite satisfied that thereafter you sought to trade on her success as a songwriter and singer.
“The court is also satisfied that you sought to trade on her vulnerability.”