Family of fraudsters faked illness to scam advice out of £734,000 over 12 years

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Three family members have been convicted of fraud after they cheated a local authority out of £734,000 by faking a neurological condition to claim a 12-year care package.

Husband and wife Laura and Philip Borrell – who once appeared on This Morning to discuss dementia – and Ms Borrell’s mother Frances Noble conspired to commit fraud by convincing Hertfordshire County Council that Ms Noble, 66, suffered from a brain disorder.

The trio, from the village of Weston, near Hitchin, managed to access a ‘direct payments care package’ worth £733,936.20 from the council between August 1, 2005 and November 30, 2018, according to The Comet.

It is believed to be one of the largest frauds ever committed against a local authority.

Husband and wife Laura and Philip Borrell – along with Ms Borrell’s mother Frances Noble – conspired to commit fraud by convincing Hertfordshire County Council that Ms Noble, 66, suffered from a brain disorder. Above, the couple appeared on This Morning in 2017 to discuss their own struggle with dementia

Philip and Laura Borrell (pictured in 2017) and his mother were this week found guilty of fraud after they defrauded their local authority of £734,000 by faking a neurological condition to claim a care package for 12 years

Philip and Laura Borrell (pictured in 2017) and his mother were this week found guilty of fraud after they defrauded their local authority of £734,000 by faking a neurological condition to claim a care package for 12 years

Care packages such as the one they received are for those who need help paying for their own care and support services – but the Borrells and Nobles kept the money for themselves.

Neighbors grew suspicious after noticing that although Ms Borrell did not appear to be working, they saw a large number of packages arriving at her home.

One resident told The Times: ‘Delivery vans all day… ordering a lot of stuff, like money’s not an issue.’

Another added: “There were Amazon vans arriving every day. And then this all-new top-of-the-line Volvo arrived. You started thinking, what is he doing? What is she doing?’

Although the Borrells returned to the UK ten days ago before their hearing, Frances Noble is still in Berlin and continues to deny any wrongdoing.  The pensioner (above with her daughter) said the guilty pleas were an effort to end a case they lacked the money to fight

Although the Borrells returned to the UK ten days ago before their hearing, Frances Noble is still in Berlin and continues to deny any wrongdoing. The pensioner (above with her daughter) said the guilty pleas were an effort to end a case they lacked the money to fight

Hertfordshire County Council then launched a fraud investigation after carers suspected Noble of exaggerating the extent of his needs.

Subsequently, the Borrells were accused of aiding the retiree by laundering the proceeds of her crime.

All three – who have been living in Germany for a few months – were due to stand trial at St Albans Crown Court on Wednesday April 27 after pleading not guilty in June 2020.

They changed their guilty plea this week and are due June 24.

Although the Borrells returned to the UK ten days ago before their hearing, Frances Noble is still in Berlin and continues to deny any wrongdoing.

The retiree said the guilty pleas were an effort to end a case they lacked the money to fight, according to the Times.

Meanwhile, in 2017, Ms Borrell – then 39 – appeared on This Morning, where she was introduced by hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield as “one of the youngest people ever to be diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia”.

She told them she had been given the devastating diagnosis of dementia, but it had been a battle to get doctors to take her seriously.

Borrell said doctors were baffled by her condition, assuming she was too young to have dementia, and told her she was “hysterical”.

Above, the Borrels.  The couple and Noble - who have been living in Germany for a few months - were due to stand trial at St Albans Crown Court on Wednesday April 27 after pleading not guilty in June 2020. They changed their guilty plea this week and are due to be sentenced on April 24. June

Above, the Borrels. The couple and Noble – who have been living in Germany for a few months – were due to stand trial at St Albans Crown Court on Wednesday April 27 after pleading not guilty in June 2020. They changed their guilty plea this week and are due to be sentenced on April 24. June

Appearing alongside her husband, Borrell said: “I thought I was going absolutely crazy. They [neurologists] were vile, they were so rude to me, they even called me a hysterical white woman.

Laura explained how she had to drop out of school and was afraid to leave home when she found herself easily confused, forgetful and struggling with her speech.

In June 2015, she said tests revealed she had frontotemporal degenerative dementia – a condition very rarely seen in people under 65.

The family then began fundraising so she could take one last road trip with her husband before his memories were ‘swept away’.

Ms Borrell said her symptoms gradually worsened and she dropped out of her law degree at the University of London, although she still has two years of coursework to complete.

Unan Choudhury, a lawyer representing Laura, told The Times she denies any allegations of dementia-related wrongdoing.

He said: “She suffered from serious neurological illnesses in the past and continues to suffer from illnesses now. She receives specialized treatment for her various conditions.

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