A new mum conned innocent online shoppers out of thousands of pounds - and blamed it all on an “addiction” caused by postnatal depression.
Lincoln Magistrates’ Court heard how former care worker Tinita Burton, 22, scammed £4,502 from at least 19 victims across the country who thought they were buying items such as iPhones from her Facebook ‘shop’.
Burton - who ran the fraud scam from the comfort of her home in Syfer Close, Caistor - boasted on Twitter she was “So f*****g happy” the day after she was sentenced to a 12-week suspended prison term and 100 hours unpaid work.
At least two other people, who claim to have been scammed by Burton, have come forward since Burton was sentenced.
Speaking after the hearing, Burton told the Market Rasen Mail: “At the time I’d just given birth to my daughter and I had really bad postnatal depression and was worrying about money.
“It wasn’t something I would do.
“It was down to the depression.
“I didn’t get medication until the last couple of months.
“That was the main reason why I did it.
“It didn’t seem like I was doing it to people - it was an addiction.
“I feel bad about it myself.
“It’s not something I would have done.
“I still feel bad about it now.”
One of Burton’s victims, single mum Kirsty Hevingham, 37, from Manchester, spent £170 on an iPhone to give her 16-year-old disabled son for Christmas - but the phone never arrived and she could not afford a replacement.
Miss Hevingham said Burton’s scam was “disgusting” and it had left her feeling stressed and upset.
Burton said: “I’ve got a little girl - if someone did that to me I would feel like that.
“I don’t mind paying the money back to the people I owe it to.
“I’m paying it all back.
“I’m feeling more myself. It’s all a big blur, what I was going through.
“I’m sorry for everything I’ve put everyone through.
“If I could turn the clock back.”
Burton told the Rasen Mail she started out selling wholesale clothes and then moved on to iPhones.
She said: “I looked up a job lot (of iPhones) in China.
“I sold the lot before I received them.
“When I received them they were fake.
“I didn’t have money to give back so I’d go out and commit fraud to pay other people back.
“It affected me hard.
“It’s hard to explain.”
A hearing at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court heard how Burton - who now lives in Beaufort Street, Gainsborough and is also known as Tanita - pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud by false representation between April 22 and October 30 last year.
The court heard how she had been handed a 12-month conditional discharge at the start of last year for taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.
According to Burton’s personal Facebook page she worked as a care assistant at Howson Care Centre in Willingham by Stow from April 2008 to December last year.
A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said: “Clearly we would advise people to be extremely cautious when buying things online.
“People should use trusted websites and look at the comments other people have made before they make a purchase.”
Burton’s victims lived in various places around the country, including Bristol, Kent, Leicester, Essex, Yorkshire, London and Scotland.
One victim, in Middlesborough, was scammed out of £420.
The others are all owed large sums, the smallest being £125.
Lincolnshire Police is urging anyone who sees anything suspicious for sale online to contact them straight away.
Call the non-emergemcy number, 101.
Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.