A woman secretly opened an account in her ex-partner’s name – then went on a shopping spree, town magistrates heard.
Clare Day racked up bills of nearly £600 before her scam collapsed when debt collectors came after her unwitting victim, the court was told last Thursday.
Helen Waite, prosecuting, said Ms Day’s former partner, identified only as Mr Ward, was shocked to receive letters from a debt recovery company.
She added: “When he investigated, he was told an account had been opened – in his name – at a Next store, and there was a £129.29 bill outstanding. He carried out a credit check on himself and discovered that ‘he’ also had an account with Studio 24. The outstanding balance there was £469.19.”
Ms Waite said suspicion immediately fell on 35-year-old Ms Day, of Garston Crescent, Calcot, because only she knew her former partner’s bank details and personal particulars.
She was duly arrested, magistrates were told, and told police the items she bought were cleaning goods for house and garden plus children’s clothing, rather than gifts for herself and her new partner.
Ms Waite said: “She explained she had hit rock bottom, financially.”
Ms Day, a mother of five, admitted fraudulently obtaining £598.58 worth of credit between June 4 and August 15 last year.
Christina Reed, defending, said her client was a woman of previous good character and described the fraud as “unsophisticated,” particularly as she had arranged for the goods to be delivered to her home address.
She added: “I would ask the court for leniency in this case.
“Ms Day was in dire financial circumstances. She had rent arrears and council tax arrears and the money was spent on items such as a hoover, a carpet cleaner, items to clean the house and garden and clothing for the children.
“She had every intention of making repayments herself but, of course, that was not possible once the debt collectors became involved.”
Ms Reed said that, although Mr Ward’s credit rating had suffered, her client would now have to make the repayments on the two accounts, rather than him.
Ms Day was made subject to a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a statutory surcharge of £15.