A woman who was described as a “plague to the equestrian industry” and who scammed H&H readers has been jailed and banned from all equestrian events in England and Wales.
Charmaine Kate McAllister, who lived at addresses in Stickford and Alford in Lincolnshire before moving to Huddersfield, appeared at Sheffield Crown Court on Monday (22 June).
She was sentenced in relation to 45 offences involving frauds to the value of over ￡46,000. She received a 56-month prison sentence.
Many of the frauds related to purchases of saddles through Ebay and thefts committed at equestrian events.
“You were a plague to equestrian events. You were a plague to the whole horse industry,” said judge Peter Kelson
He dismissed a psychiatric report, which said McAllister suffered from an impulse control disorder, as “less than compelling”.
He added: “You are just a deep-seated thief. You don’t care about the impact on your victims or your own family.”
McAllister has accumulated 163 fraud and theft convictions since 2002.
She was given a two-year jail sentence in January 2014, which was suspended for two years at Winchester Crown Court.
Between January 2014 and May 2015, while on her suspended sentence, McAllister targeted riders at shows — including Oasby Horse Trials, near Grantham.
She also scammed people via H&H — pretending she was from the advertising team.
She identified victims through adverts in the magazine, and called them purporting to be from Horse & Hound and stating that the payment has failed.
“We would encourage anyone attending an equestrian event to ensure they leave all valuables safely locked away, and when making purchases online using PayPal (not the friends and family gift option as this is not protected), and never to provide any details over the phone,” said PC Stephanie Snell from Lincolnshire Police.
“The victims, who were from all parts of the UK, have lost large sums of money and were all affected by her manipulative and dishonest behaviour.
“She showed no remorse in her offending and committed numerous offences while on probation with a suspended sentence order, and also after being interviewed by the police, going on to commit further offences each time and using dishonest methods to evade custody and court appearances.”
“McAllister is skilled in the art of deception and has managed to defraud a high number of victims and I am happy that justice has been served, and she is now unable to commit any further offences.”