Facebook con artist from Birmingham jailed after going on run

A con artist who fled to Turkey before she could be sentenced for fraud has been arrested at an airport and jailed.

Leah Farley, 30, admitted conspiring to commit fraud by false representation in January 2017 but vanished before she could be sentenced later that year.

She scammed dozens of people out of large sums of money by falsely advertising rental homes and phones, spending the cash on holidays.

Farley, of Northfield, was arrested at Birmingham Airport on Thursday.

Along with two friends, Farley created fake Facebook accounts where they claimed to be selling phones at knockdown prices.

Her accomplices were jailed at Birmingham Crown Court in November 2017.

At Wolverhampton Crown Court on Friday she was jailed for three years and eight months and ordered to pay a nominal fee of £1 while the whereabouts of the money she received is investigated.

West Midlands Police said it had begun extradition proceedings but Farley returned to the UK of her own accord and handed herself over to the authorities on Thursday.

She was branded “greedy” by the force who said she committed the offences “purely to fund her lifestyle”.

Police estimate she duped 34 people out of a collective £17,500.

Some of her victims were left homeless after paying deposits for properties which were never available to rent.

“Some victims gave Farley £1,000 on the back of photos posted online and a ‘pleasant’ phone conversation,” Det Con Richard Potts said.

“It’s really important before parting with large sums of money that people do their due diligence.”