A CON woman has been jailed for her part in a money laundering scam which netted £48,000 from stolen or cloned credit cards.

Lavinia Smith, aged 49, of Brocksby Chase, Bolton, filled in documents saying she was the director of Blooming Mums, a website which sold maternity wear.

But the site was a front for a money laundering operation, with cloned or stolen credit cards being used to buy goods that did not exist.

Smith had denied money laundering and fraud but a jury found her guilty last month.

Yesterday she was jailed for 18 months.

Bolton Crown Court was told one or more sophisticated criminals had also been involved in the scam.

But Smith had been persuaded to join the enterprise and had gone into the operation “with open eyes”.

Smith, a cancer sufferer, had previously told the jury she had nothing to do with the business and that she did not know it was a scam.

The operation lasted just three weeks, and in that time, Smith withdrew £48,000 from a bank account she had set up.

She had also set up an agreement with merchant account provider Streamline, which allows traders to accept credit and debit card payments.

The court heard Streamline lost £37,500 and that Smith had also attempted but failed to withdraw larger amounts of money totalling £74,000.

Sentencing Judge William Morris said: “This was a sophisticated fraud, set up by a relatively sophisticated criminal or criminals.

“You do not fall into that category. They used you as a front for this fraudulent enterprise.

“But the jury’s verdict was as plain as can be.

“It is obvious that your motive was financial and it is inconceivable that you weren’t receiving financial reward.”

The court heard Smith was of previous good character and that she had financial difficulties prior to the fraud, caused by problems with her health.