Ho Ho Hoax
Jun 13 2008
By Kurt Bayer
Gullible Cashier Falls For Santa Note Scam
A FORGER convinced a cashier a £20 note was real - despite Santa Claus and his reindeer being on it.
Stacey Rice's self-made Santa Christmas Bank note promised to pay the bearer nothing and listed Santa as the bank's "chief operating officer" with his address as the North Pole.
But Rice, 27, was still able to pass it off as genuine in an "astonishing" scam, a court heard.
She duped a gullible cashier at a gym and the woman gave Rice change of the £20 in smaller denominations.
The conwoman was only caught when gym bosses spotted the note was fake. Yesterday, Rice admitted committing fraud at Fitness First in Dundee on January 16 this year.
Sheriff Alistair Duff - who revealed the £20 was not even referred to as counterfeit in the charge, but as a "piece of paper" - said it was a remarkable case.
He added: "The most astonishing thing is you got away with it.
"It was astounding that you even dreamed this up as a scheme." The sheriff added: "It's hard to imagine this undermining the banking system. I can't see the Chancellor being worried by it."
Dundee Sheriff Court heard Rice had been "desperate" for money after a hold-up in her benefits.
Her solicitor Scott Norrie said his client had been forced to rely on charity for six weeks.
Rice, of Dundee, was fined £75. She said: "I don't know what I was thinking about. Looking back, I can't believe I did it.
"I suppose it was just a desperate scheme to get some money."
Fitness First boss Rick Brown said staff were now being extra vigilant.
He added: "It was just a one-off thing that we were surprised about.
"We've given all the staff refresher training and gone through security procedures because we don't want this to happen again.
"People try to chance their arm all the time but this was quite bold and the first time anything like this has happened.
"It was noticed quite quickly after the exchange because the note didn't look or feel right.
"We certainly don't tolerate this sort of thing."
Mc Tee, On the contrary, I think this more actually supports the understanding that most people had of the SCots.