A pensioner who cheated a council out of £600,000 after claiming she was bedridden is still at large in Berlin.
Frances Noble, 66, was jailed in her absence for four years nine months in June this year in what the judge called possibly the biggest fraud of its kind in English courts.
At today’s proceeds of crime hearing in St Albans, Crown Court prosecutor Andrew Johnson said Noble was a fugitive who failed to respond to a statement exposing the criminal advantage that she had obtained from Hertfordshire County Council.
He said an extradition process had begun with the National Crime Agency making a request on behalf of the local authority.
Frances Noble (left), 66, was jailed in her absence for four years and nine months in June this year in what the judge said was perhaps the biggest fraud of its kind in English courts.
His daughter Laura Borrell, 45, appeared on a video link from Peterborough jail during the trial. She had benefited from £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 Britain’s youngest dementia sufferer.
His daughter Laura Borrell, 45, appeared on a video link from prison in Peterborough.
She had benefited from £278,813.65 from his part in the criminal activity.
Mr Johnson said the money available for forfeiture, which was proceeds from the marital home, was £22,707.
Judge Richard Foster said she would serve an additional 12 months in prison if that sum was not returned.
Her husband Philip, also 45, was unable to appear on a link from Highpoint Jail today and is now due in court next Tuesday.
Laura and Philip Borrell had appeared on ITV’s This Morning to tell Philip Scofield and Holly Willoughby that she was one of the youngest people to ever suffer from dementia.
Laura Borrell was jailed for three years nine months and Philip Borrell for four years three months for the money they received.
They and his mother lived in Damask Green Road, Weston, Herts at the time they were sentenced.
The court heard that tens of thousands of pounds of Hertfordshire County Council’s care package money was transferred to the Borrells, who spent a luxury North American vacation in Canada, San Francisco, Boston and Orlando.
Between 2005 and 2018, Noble convinced the council that her condition was so serious that she needed 24-hour intensive home care at her bungalow in Datchworth near Stevenage.
Laura Borrell’s husband, Philip Borrell, was imprisoned for four years three months for the money he and his wife received.
But she was seen by her neighbors walking her dog Bertie early in the morning and was filmed by one of them as she strolled through her garden.
Investigators watched her pick up a Tesco home delivery which she was able to unpack.
Mr Johnson said when a neighbor saw Noble in her garden she put a balaclava over her face and said: ‘I’m not Frances. I am his caregiver.
Over a period of 13 years, between August 1, 2005 and November 30, 2018, Frances Noble was awarded £624,047.15.
Noble had received a “pay direct care package” which allows people with disabilities, or their family and friends, to choose carers and equipment and pay bills.
On one occasion, the supposedly bedridden Noble was seen pushed in a wheelchair by her daughter around the Bluewater Mall.
Noble, who claimed to have been on a liquid diet, was filmed eating with her daughter at a restaurant.
On another occasion, a carer showed up at her home and found her standing naked in the bathroom washing her hair.
The money went into a single bank account, which should only be for direct payment to caregivers.
Under the most generous definition, less than £100,000 was spent on care, Mr Johnson said.
He said: “The funds given to him were funds which would have been used to support the people of Hertfordshire.”
Noble had “dishonestly and deliberately” lied to social workers, he said.
A spokesman for Hertfordshire County Council said: ‘The Borrells actively cheated on This Morning and appeared on the show with Holly and Phil to claim that Ms Borrell was the UK’s youngest person with dementia’
Mr Johnson said: ‘The central lie was the suggestion that she was bedridden for a very significant period.
“But it’s absolutely clear, she just wasn’t bedridden. She cheated the local council and many others, including her GP.
“She claimed that various people were caregivers when they were doing nothing. She sent a number of emails from caregivers. These emails had nothing to do with them (caregivers), they were fake emails.
“She wove a web of lies to everyone she came in contact with.”
A social worker said it was unusual for someone who had been bedridden for many years not to have deteriorated due to their inability to move.
When neighbors reported her, Noble told 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 from getting caught again.
Investigators also found a video she shot at her home in June 2013. She was walking around and filming 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 probably the biggest fraud of its kind in the English courts.’
“The cost of social care is a huge burden on the taxpayer.” He said taxpayers were the victims of his fraud.
At today’s proceeds of crime hearing in St Albans, Crown Court prosecutor Andrew Johnson said Noble was a fugitive who failed to respond to a statement exposing the criminal advantage that she had obtained from Hertfordshire County Council. He said an extradition process had begun with the National Crime Agency making a request on behalf of the local authority.
The judge said almost a third of the money went to his daughter and son-in-law and £184,000 to Noble’s personal bank account.
The judge said: ‘You made it look like you were bedridden. You have woven a web of lies and deceit, including sending emails claiming to be from caregivers.
A spokesman 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.
“The trio’s crimes were planned, calculated and carried out with the intention of abusing a care system designed first and foremost to meet the needs of people in need of help.
“The Borrells actively cheated on This Morning and appeared on the show with Holly and Phil to claim that Ms Borrell was the youngest person in GB with dementia.”
The council said that since the discovery of the fraud, staff in adult social care teams have undergone specific training in identifying fraud.
The three had moved to Germany with his daughter and son-in-law after the investigation began.