Police have seized £10,000 from a woman who defrauded high street shops under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Tracey Scott, from Houghton, was charged with fraud by false representation in August 2011.
The 48-year-old photocopied the receipts of purchased goods from Argos, and returned identical items that were bought elsewhere at a cheaper price.
Scott pleaded guilty, and in March 2012 she was given a suspended sentence of 40 weeks, and told to carry out 150 hours of unpaid community service.
A confiscation hearing at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday found that Scott had earned the money through criminal activity. She was ordered to pay it back within six months or face a six-month prison sentence.
Detective Chief Inspector Lisa Orchard, from Northumbria Police said:
– Detective Chief Inspector Lisa Orchard, Northumbria Police
"We are pleased with the outcome of the confiscation hearing which clearly demonstrates that crime does not pay.
"Anyone found making money from fraud or any other types of crime will be caught and dealt with appropriately by the courts."