A Hertfordshire fraudster who defrauded the council has been sentenced to prison

Published:
10:13 am 26 June 2022



A North Herts fraudster who defrauded advice out of more than £700,000 has been sentenced to jail.

Frances Noble, 66, feigned a neurological condition and told Hertfordshire County Council she was bedridden, unable to feed herself and in need of round-the-clock care.

Between January 15, 2007 and November 26, 2018, Noble received £624,047.50 from the council, which was intended to help him live independently.

Payments dating back to 2005 bring the total amount Noble received to £702,905, but she could not be charged for the amount until after January 2007 following a change in the law.

Noble previously admitted one count of fraud at St Albans Crown Court and was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison on Friday June 24.

She employed her daughter and son-in-law, Laura and Philip Borrell, aged 44 and 46, at various stages of the fraud. They also pleaded guilty to one count of fraud.

Noble also pleaded guilty to transferring criminal property in the amount of £130,649.46.

The Borrells admitted an additional joint count of acquiring criminal property in the amount of £184,203.65. On top of that, Laura pleaded guilty to acquiring criminal property for the sum of £39,700, and Philip pleaded guilty to the same offense for the sum of £6,218.92.

Noble who previously lived in Damask Green Road in Weston, near Hitchin and Letchworth and now lives in Rohrwallallee, Berlin, did not attend his sentencing.

A court hearing to seek a warrant for his arrest in Germany will take place at a later date.

Judge Richard Foster heard how Noble was placed under surveillance for five days in 2018 when Hertfordshire County Council launched a fraud investigation.

Prosecutor Andrew Johnson told St Albans Crown Court that neighbors saw Noble standing in the garden and walking his dog at night.

Noble received cash payments into a bank account she controlled, and the money was supposed to be used for her care.

Mr Johnson told the court: ‘Noble treated the money not as payment for the provision of vital services, but as personal income with which they could all do whatever they wanted, and for more than a year. decade, they did what they wanted.”

He recounted how a neighbor confronted Noble about her condition while she was in her garden.

“She grabbed her hood and pulled it over her head and said ‘I’m not Frances, I’m her carer,'” Mr Johnson said.

Another neighbor took video of Noble walking through her garden unaided, and investigators watched her pick up a Tesco delivery which she was unable to unpack without help.

Ben Newton, of the defence, said by way of mitigation: “She had real and serious health issues.

“She wasn’t going to spend expensive vacations overseas and buy luxury items.”

Judge Richard Foster said: “This is probably the biggest fraud of its kind in the English courts.

“The cost of social care is a huge burden on the taxpayer.

“You made Hertfordshire County Council believe you were bedridden.

“You have woven a web of lies and deceit, including sending emails claiming to be from caregivers.”

He bailed out the Borrells, but told them they had to prepare for short-term prison sentences.


“We will now use the Proceeds of Crime Act and other methods of civil recovery – including the forced sale of the Borrells’ home – to try to recover every penny defrauded” – Hertfordshire County Council
– Credit: Danny Loo

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said: “Ms Noble, her daughter and son-in-law have committed a sophisticated and underhanded fraud which has shamelessly sought to mislead health and social care professionals for an extended period. “

They added: “The trio’s offenses were planned, calculated and executed with the intent to abuse a care system designed first and foremost to meet the needs of those in need of help.

“We will now use the Proceeds of Crime Act and other methods of civil recovery – including the forced sale of the Borrell home – to try to recover every penny defrauded so that it can be used to support those who have really need our help.”

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