X Factor star conned out of £20,000
A bogus accountant who swindled more than £20,000 from her X Factor friend Rebecca Ferguson told the singer she needed her support to avoid falling prey to conmen.
Fraudster Rachel Taylor, 54, of Southport was today jailed for 16 months at Liverpool Crown Court for the "calculated and callous" offence after scamming the star out of £20,972.30.
In a victim personal statement read out to the court by Miss Ferguson she said that Taylor had posed as being concerned about her.
She added that Taylor had claimed to be determined that the singer wouldn't be used by unscrupulous people who would prey on her success.
The 2010 X Factor runner-up told the court that she was from a "humble background" and had trusted Taylor.
The court heard that Taylor had been a friend of the performer's mother and had offered to give her financial advice in the autumn of 2012, despite not holding any qualifications.
An agreement was reached whereby Taylor would look after Miss Ferguson's business affairs and she was paid between £500 and £600 a week.
But the court heard that Miss Ferguson's trust was to be "exploited" and around Christmas 2012, Miss Ferguson became suspicious.
After paying Taylor £3,350 to set up a trust fund for her daughter she failed to receive any paperwork.
Taylor's husband Raymond Taylor, 62, also pleaded guilty to dishonestly providing information to obtain a student grant and was jailed for five months.
Geoff Fryar, Senior District Crown Prosecutor at Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said: "This was a calculated and callous offence which exploited the trust which Ms Ferguson had placed with the defendant as a family friend.
"Rachel Taylor had no qualifications to have taken on the role of financial management and only the suspicions of Ms Ferguson eventually put an end to her offending.
"It is extremely ironic that Rachel Taylor, whilst claiming to protect Ms Ferguson from those who would exploit her, was doing just that herself.
"The sentence imposed by the court has provided Ms Ferguson with justice and hopefully will now close an unfortunate chapter in her life."