Fraudster posed as psychic Sally Morgan on Facebook

Gemma Badley charged people £10 for a reading

Fraudster posed as Sally Morgan on Facebook

A fraudster posing as TV psychic Sally Morgan charged punters £10 a pop for Facebook readings - before she was caught by the celebrity clairvoyant.

Con artist Gemma Badley claimed she was 'Britain's best-loved psychic', setting up an account under Morgan's name and preying on people desperate to speak to loved ones.

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The 28-year-old messaged victims offering readings for a tenner - before simply blocking them on Facebook when they had transferred the money.

Teeside Magistrates' Court heard Badley, from Hartlepool, County Durham, was struggling to stay afloat after racking up crippling debts.

Even Badley's own solicitor admitted the crimes, which she carried out between March and August last year were not particularly clever.

"It is not very well thought-out," admitted Neil Taylor in court.

Morgan believes "thousands" of people had been conned by her imposter.

Badley was able to get away with her con for months because her victims were spread around the country and police forces deemed the individual sums to small to warrant investigation, the TV star said.

The psychic and her business manager were forced to collect details of victims who contacted her themselves and push for Badley to face charges.

She was also warned fans on Facebook about the fraudster.

Morgan told the Mirror: "At first we thought it was a bit of a joke but it got quite frightening that she was able to do this in my name and no one wanted to know. It was a bit scary what she was doing.

"We put be putting pictures on Facebook and within literally three minutes she had taken them and set up a new account.

"It was tantamount really to cyber-stalking."

Badley was eventually arrested and pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud by false representation.

Deputy District Judge Neil Hayles warned the con artist she could face jail, asking the probation service to carry out an "all options report" ahead of sentencing on February 21.

In mitigation, Badley's solicitor said she faced "massive rent arrears".

She was handed unconditional bail ahead of sentencing, although she was warned the case could ultimately be dealt with at Teesside Crown Court.

But Morgan said she did not want her imposter to be jailed.

She said: "I don't want this girl to go to prison, I just want it to stop. The way she acted, she is not well is she? It's really sad."

The TV star found fame in 2007 with her show Star Psychic, and has toured the country while penning several best-selling books.

She claims to have first seen a ghost aged four, a skill says she inherited from her grandmother.

Victims of scams and fraud

Victims of scams and fraud


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