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Woman jailed for defrauding partner of more than £163,000

|News, Fraud and economic crime

A 41-year-old woman was jailed for five years on 30 November 2021 at Winchester Crown Court after she defrauded her partner out of more than £163,000.

Michelle Farndell, from Farnborough, pleaded guilty to fraud offences and theft after it was discovered that she had fraudulently taken money from the victim’s bank accounts, cashed in his pension, and failed to pay his mortgage whilst she was supervising his finances between January 2011 and May 2019.

Having started a relationship with the victim in this case, Farndell caused him to believe that she had her own career, including her own bookkeeping business, which in fact wasn’t true at all. She persuaded the victim that she could use her bookkeeping skills to organise and manage his finances, when she was actually taking substantial amounts of money and spending it for her own benefit.

Farndell’s fraudulent activity was vast. She had changed PIN numbers and passwords on the victim’s bank accounts so that he could not access them, falsified statements so that he had no idea that his finances were dwindling, and applied to the Post Office to have relevant mail diverted so that it would not be delivered to the victim’s address.

Instead of supervising the victim’s finances responsibly, Farndell used his money to pay her own personal bills, withdrew and transferred money, spent money on his credit cards and funded purchases from his bank accounts through catalogue purchases.

In another example of a gross abuse of trust, Farndell forged the victim’s signature and drew down his pension without his knowledge. The pension would have been worth over £70,000, but she withdrew it at a value of just over £48,500. The money was deposited into an account to which Farndell had unsupervised access, and she spent it all.

Tragically, the victim took his own life in February 2020.

Elizabeth Medland, CPS Wessex Senior Crown Prosecutor, said: “Michelle Farndell went to extraordinary lengths to deceive and defraud the victim in this case, and effectively caused him financial ruin. There is no doubt that the devastation she caused him took an enormous toll on him and his mental health.

“The extensive financial investigation undertaken by the police meant that the CPS could prove the extent of Farndell’s criminal activity, and the very serious extent of her abuse of trust and culpability.

“It is desperately sad that the victim is not here to see justice delivered in this case.”

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