Pensioner, 66, sentenced to jail for cheating taxpayers out of £600,000 in one of Britain’s biggest benefit frauds and whose daughter faked dementia on This Morning is on the run in Berlin
- Frances Noble, 66, was jailed while absent for four years and nine months
- Judge said the pensioner committed possibly largest fraud of its type in England
- Daughter claimed to be one of the youngest dementia sufferers on This Morning
A pensioner who cheated a council out of £600,000 after claiming she was bed-bound is still on the run in Berlin.
Frances Noble, 66, was jailed in her absence for four years nine months in June this year in what the judge said was possibly the largest fraud of its type to come before the English courts.
At the proceeds of crime hearing today at St Albans crown court prosecutor Andrew Johnson said Noble was an absconder who had not responded to a statement setting out the criminal benefit she had obtained from Hertfordshire County Council.
He said an extradition process had begun with the National Crime Agency making an application on behalf of the local authority.
Frances Noble (left), 66, was jailed in her absence for four years nine months in June this year in what the judge said was possibly the largest fraud of its type to come before the English courts
Her daughter Laura Borrell, 45, appeared on a video link from Peterborough prison in the trial. She had benefited by £278,813.65 from her part in the criminal activity and was jailed for three years and nine months. She had previously appeared on ITV’s This Morning and claimed she was the youngest dementia sufferer in Britain
Her daughter Laura Borrell, 45, appeared on a video link from Peterborough prison.
She had benefited by £278,813.65 from her part in the criminal activity.
Mr Johnson said the money available for confiscation, which was the proceeds from the matrimonial home, was £22,707.
Judge Richard Foster said that she would serve an extra 12 months in prison if that sum was not handed over.
Her husband Philip, also 45, could not appear on a link from Highpoint prison today and is now due at the court next Tuesday.
Laura and Philip Borrell had appeared on ITV’s This Morning show to tell Philip Scofield and Holly Willoughby she was one of the youngest people ever to have dementia.
Laura Borrell was jailed for three years nine months and Philip Borrell for four years three months for the care package money they received.
They and her mother had been living in Damask Green Road, Weston, Herts at the time they were sentenced.
The court heard that tens of thousands of pounds of the care package money from Hertfordshire County Council was passed onto the Borrells, who went on luxury North American holidays in Canada, San Francisco, Boston and Orlando.
Between 2005 and 2018, Noble convinced the council that her condition was so serious that she required intensive round-the-clock home care at her bungalow in Datchworth near Stevenage.
Laura Borrell’s husband, Philip Borrell, was jailed for four years three months for the care package money him and his wife had received
But she was seen by her neighbours walking her dog Bertie early in the morning and was videoed by one as she walked around her back garden.
Investigators watched as she took in a Tesco home delivery which she was able to unpack.
Mr Johnson said when one neighbour saw Noble in her back garden she pulled a hood over her face and said: ‘I am not Frances. I am her carer.’
Over a 13-year period, between August 1, 2005, and November 30, 2018, Frances Noble had obtained £624,047.15p.
Noble had been granted a ‘direct payment care package’ which allows people with disabilities, or their family members and friends, to choose carers and equipment and settle bills.
On one occasion supposedly bed-ridden Noble was seen been pushed in a wheelchair by her daughter around the Bluewater Shopping Centre.
Noble, who had claimed she had been on a liquid diet, was filmed eating with her daughter in a restaurant.
On another occasion a care worker turned up at her home to find her standing up, naked in the bathroom, washing her hair.
The money went into a single bank account, that should solely be for the purpose of direct payment to carers.
On the most generous definition less that £100,000 was spent on care, said Mr Johnson.
He said: ‘Funds that were paid to her were funds that would have been used to support the residents of Hertfordshire.’
Noble had ‘dishonestly and deliberately’ lied to social workers, he said.
A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said: ‘The Borrells actively deceived This Morning and appeared on the show with Holly and Phil to claim that Mrs Borrell was the youngest person in GB with dementia’
Mr Johnson said: ‘The central lie was the suggestion that she was bed-bound for a very significant period.
‘But it is quite plain, she was simply not bed-bound. She misled the local council and many others, including her treating doctor.
‘She claimed a variety of people were carers when they did nothing. She sent a number of emails from carers. Those emails had nothing to do with them (the carers), they were fake emails.
‘She spun a web of lies to everyone she came into contact.’
One social worker said it was unusual for a person who had been bed ridden for many years not to have deteriorated because of her inability to move.
When neighbours reported her, Noble claimed to her Housing Association and the police that she had been the victim of harassment and hate crimes. She even persuaded the Housing Association to raise the height of her fence to prevent her being caught out again.
The investigators also found a video she made inside her home in June 2013. She was walking around and filmed herself in a mirror.
Noble had pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation. The Borrells had pleaded guilty to money laundering.
When Judge Richard Foster jailed her, he said: ‘This is possibly the largest fraud of its type to come before the English courts.
‘The cost of social care is an enormous burden on the tax payer.’ He said taxpayers were the victims of her fraud.
At proceeds of crime hearing today at St Albans crown court prosecutor Andrew Johnson said Noble was an absconder who had not responded to a statement setting out the criminal benefit she had obtained from Hertfordshire County Council. He said an extradition process had begun with the National Crime Agency making an application on behalf of the local authority
The judge said almost a third of the money had gone to her daughter and son-in-law and £184,000 into Noble’s personal bank account.
The judge said: ‘You made believe you were bed-bound. You spun a web of lies and deceit including sending emails purporting to be from carers’.
A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said: ‘Mrs Noble, her daughter and her son-in-law undertook a sophisticated and devious fraud that shamelessly sought to deceive health and social services professionals over a sustained period of time.
‘The trio’s offences were planned, calculated and carried out with the intention of abusing a care system designed first and foremost to meet the requirements of those in need of support.
‘The Borrells actively deceived This Morning and appeared on the show with Holly and Phil to claim that Mrs Borrell was the youngest person in GB with dementia.’
The council said that since the fraud came to light, staff within the adult social care teams have undergone specific training in relation to identifying fraud.
The three had moved to Germany with her daughter and son-in-law after the investigation began.
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