A MOTHER-of-two took out a loan secured on her car then sold the vehicle to an unsuspecting buyer.
Durham Crown Court heard the buyer, John Ronald, lost the car and the £1,300 purchase price when the finance company repossessed it.
Stephanie Lane, 26, formerly of Marsden Way, Seaham, admitted the fraud which happened in March, last year.
“She took out what is called a logbook loan,” said Chris Baker, prosecuting. “The loan company used her Honda Civic car as part security.
“She got behind with the payments on the loan and sold the car to Mr Ronald on March 3.
“In May, he received a letter from the loan company telling him they had title over the car and would be taking it back.
“Mr Ronald did an internet check on the car before buying it, but the logbook loan agreement did not show up.
“He is understandably angry, having lost the car, the £1,300, and £700 he spent on spares and repairs.”
Lane, who has since moved to Poppy Lane, Shotton, was given a suspended sentence in 2012 for trying to buy three cars on finance using her neighbour’s name and bank details.
Ian Hudson, defending, said in mitigation: “This latest offence is in breach of the suspended sentence. But it was nearly 18 months later, and she completed all of the community hours.
“The work was done at a centre for the elderly in Dawdon where Ms Lane still works on a voluntary basis.
“She is a single mother with two children, sending her to prison would punish them.”
Judge Colin Burn sentenced Lane to six months in prison, suspended for two years, a two-year supervision order, 160 hours of community work, and the judge ordered her to pay £1,300 compensation.
Judge Burn told her: “I am just able to suspend the sentence, not least because you can pay compensation to the victim in this case.
“But you must realise this second suspended sentence really is your last chance. For you, it will be a case of three strikes and you will be in prison.”