A woman who pretended to be pregnant to con a couple in a £10,000 surrogacy scam has walked free from court.
Louise Kimmet lied to Gordon and Susan Kennedy leading to them handing over cash.
The 32-year-old, of Glasgow’s Cranhill, met the Kennedys via an online surrogacy forum.
Kimmet advertised her services as a surrogate to “help a family” and befriended the Kennedys.
Kimmet and the Kennedys settled on a fee of £10,000 for her to provide surrogate services.
But, she received an initial £1,000 for “ongoing expenses.”
Kimmet – who initially believed she was pregnant – pretended to be after being aware that she had sent a picture of a false positive test.
She also claimed that she was experiencing symptoms of pregnancy and was attending hospital appointments.
Kimmet also sent a picture of a false ultrasound and an image of a baby bump which raised suspicions after a five-week alleged pregnancy.
Kimmet – a first offender – pled guilty to the single charge of fraud at Glasgow Sheriff Court spanning between November 2020 and March 2021.
The court heard that Mrs Kennedy responded to an advert on an online surrogacy site in August 2020.
The advert was posted under the name Lou M Graham who offered a surrogate service to “help a family.”
Mrs Kennedy and Kimmet spoke online and met face to face, establishing a “strong friendship.”
Prosecutor Gemma Barclay said: “It was agreed she would provide services as a surrogate mother and informed the Kennedys that this would cost £10,000 for two embryos.”
Kimmet provided her bank details and her real name with an agreement confirmed in October 2020.
The Kennedys initially transferred £30 for ovulation tests and the insemination process began in January 2021.
Kimmet sent pictures of a positive pregnancy test to the Kennedys ten to 14 days later.
They continued to stay in contact with Kimmet claiming to experience “pregnancy symptoms” – attending hospital and her GP for treatment.
Ms Barclay said: “Kimmet continued to send pictures of her ongoing pregnancy and images of her bump.
“Mrs Kennedy found this strange as Kimmet was allegedly only a few weeks pregnant.”
Kimmet attended a five-week ultrasound with Mrs Kennedy who was not able to be in the room due to Covid guidelines.
Kimmet showed a picture of what she claimed was the scan on her mobile phone and stated that medical staff “identified two embryotic sacks” in her womb.
Ms Barclay added: “Kimmet contacted Mrs Kennedy a few weeks later stating that she attended hospital again for a scan and said staff identified two heart beats.”
Mrs Kennedy bank transferred £1,000 to Kimmet for “ongoing expenses” on February 23, 2021.
This was part of an agreement to send £1,000 every four weeks.
Kimmet claimed she booked a scan for Mrs Kennedy to “see your babies.”
Kimmet cancelled it claiming her daughter having Covid but “rearranged” it for later in March.
Mrs Kennedy was unable to contact Kimmet on the day of the scan until later in the night, with her stating that she had to attend hospital with her daughter who had seizures.
A woman claiming to be Kimmet’s sister contacted Mrs Kennedy saying that she was rushed to hospital.
Mrs Kennedy contacted Glasgow Royal Infirmary to find out that she was not a registered patient there or anywhere else in greater Glasgow.
Kimmet later contacted Mrs Kennedy providing images which showed “blood and blood clots” in her bathroom floor stating that she was “heartbroken.”
In the meantime, Mrs Kennedy contacted Kimmet’s sister to tell her that she “pretended to be a surrogate with my twins.”
Mrs Kennedy received £1,000 from Kimmet 15 minutes later in her bank account and she made attempts to apologise to her through a third party.
Kimmet attended a police station to hand herself in where she made full admissions.
She told them: “Aye, I hold my hands up, I did it, I made a mistake, it’s me that’s got to live with it, I have lost a good friend out of this as well.”
Graham Bryson, defending, told the court that Kimmet was “deeply remorseful” and apologised to the Kennedys on her behalf.
The lawyer added: “This didn’t start as a scam or fraudulent activity.
“When she found out she wasn’t pregnant she started to dig herself into a deeper, deeper hole.
“This was not necessarily for financial gain but by that point she had formed a strong friendship with the Kennedys.
“She said she didn’t know how to break the news to Mrs Kennedy that there were no babies.
“She knew she wasn’t pregnant in mid-January 2021 – the initial pregnancy test was a false positive.”
Sheriff Kevin McCarron told Kimmet that she “easily passed” the custodial threshold but held off putting her in prison as it would negatively impact her two children.
He said: “There was a level of deceit involved by you in a sustained deliberate fashion.
“One can’t imagine the impact your actions have had on the Kennedys in this case.”
Kimmet was tagged for four months keeping her indoors between 8pm and 7am.
She was also put under supervision for 12 months.