Times caption: Stephanie Scolaro fills her Instagram feed with pictures of her enjoying a luxury lifestyle
A piece in today’s Times:
An “utterly self-centred” so-called rich kid of Instagram has been spared jail after she imported and sold fashion accessories made from endangered python skin.
Stephanie Scolaro, 26, a multimillionaire heiress, was given a 160-hour community order to be carried out over the next two years after she admitted ordering snakeskin baseball caps and travel bags worth more than £17,000 from Indonesia.
The “influential” Instagram star then sold the illegal goods on a website called SS Python or to other fashion outlets. She had previously been warned that she faced up to seven years in jail.
Judge Michael Gledhill, QC, branded Scolaro “completely adrift” and said he took a “very dim view” of the crime, comparing it to trading in ivory from elephants and rhinos.
He said: “This is a young woman who, for all sorts of different reasons, is utterly self-centred: her entire life concentrated around herself. One of the reasons is all her life she has in effect been given exactly what she wanted.
“She thinks, ‘I like Python skins, I can get them and sell them, and therefore I do it’. She focuses the spotlight on herself, it’s all about me. There is no thought about pythons in Indonesia, how they are skinned alive and how they are endangered doesn’t cross her mind.”
Scolaro, of central London, claims she is a socialite who leads a life of luxury and glamour, sharing pictures of high-end designer clothes and supercars with her 80,000 social media followers.
Her sister Lana starred in the Channel 4 reality TV show Rich Kids Of Instagram. Their father, Francesco Scolaro, made millions from mining and investing in the leisure industry.
Scolaro pleaded guilty to two charges of importing goods with the intent to evade a prohibition, two charges of keeping for sale a species acquired unlawfully and two charges of selling a species unlawfully imported at an earlier hearing.
Gregor McKinley, for the prosecution, showed Southwark crown court a selection of gold, cream and maroon snakeskin baseball caps. He told the hearing in December: “Miss Scolaro has a very active engagement with social media and in particular with an Instagram channel which she operates and manages. She’s been described in some quarters as influential in terms of fashion, in particular with young people.
“These articles are shown on her Instagram channel and were also offered for sale on a website she owned and operation called SS Python and though individual sale trader outlets with which she formed an arrangement to sell the goods.”
There were 35 illegal snakeskin goods, which included baseball caps, large holdall bags and smaller bags.
She was caught when German customs intercepted ten caps and a large and small bag as they were air freighted from Indonesia to the UK.
Mr McKinley said: “These caps, one large and one small bag, were intercepted by the German customs police at Leipzig airport on November 15. “The German authorities informed the British authorities of the consignment and allowed it to continue into the UK. The consignment was directly addressed to Miss Scolaro at an address associated with her parents’ address in Curzon Street.
“As part of the police investigation, caps addressed to her were confiscated at Heathrow airport, while five were found in another shop on sale for hundreds of pounds. Three were on sale for £450 and two were on sale for £350.”
Mr McKinley said Scolaro refused to co-operate in locating the goods and gave a no-comment interview. [J4MB: So she wasted police time. Surely this should have been an aggravating circumstance in her sentencing?]
He said: “All of the investigation has been by the police from the website and the Instagram account and without any co-operation from the defendant for finding these items and where they have been on sale.
“There are some 35 of these baseball caps. If we take the retail value as was suggested by the defendant herself, it amounts to about £350, the value of these hats comes to £12,215. The large bags which were intercepted were advertised on the website for £2,800. We don’t have an estimated value for the small bags but the large bags and hats comes to £17,815.”
When the goods came from Indonesia they had documents purporting to be export permits with them. However, Mr McKinley said: “Both of these documents have been checked and both are forgeries.”
“The maximum penalties on the regulatory offences is five years on each of these offences. And the customs and excise management offence is a maximum of seven years.”
Judge Gledhill said: “I still take a very dim view of this. We’re talking about the same category of offending that members of the public will be more readily aware of. It includes ivory from elephants and rhinos.” [J4MB: Judge Gledhill takes “a very dim view of this”. Yet he still gives her a suspended sentence, with no mitigating circumstances, because vagina.]
A hearing to recover her criminal profits will take place at a later date.
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