Whalley Army man guilty of £190,000 school fees fraud

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SHAMED ex-Army officer Robert Henry Jolleys is facing jail and seizure of his assets after being found guilty of defrauding taxpayers of nearly £190,000.

The 52-year-old former lieutenant colonel claimed the money over several years to send his three sons to Stonyhurst College, a jury at Swindon Crown Court was told.

He abused the Army’s Continuing Education Allowance, which allows service personnel to send their children to boarding school and prevents any disruption to their schooling.

The court heard that Jolleys was legitimately claiming the allowance, which pays up to 90% of the school fees, until he separated from his wife Judith in 2002.

He was accused of not informing his superiors of the split – therefore creating a change in his personal status –meaning that he may have no longer have received the allowance. Jolleys maintained to his superiors that he was still married and that his wife lived with him in his Army quarters.

He was only caught when his now ex-wife rang his superior officer in the summer of 2009 and asked “Where’s Henry?”

As the Army investigation began, Jolleys set about trying to cover his tracks by changing his personal status.

Under cross-examination, Jolleys accepted he knew the Army’s “broad rules”, but maintained that he and his wife had not separated when he was posted from London to North Yorkshire in 2002.

Mrs Jolleys gave evidence from behind a screen as she did not wish to see her ex-husband in person. She said that they had effectively separated in 2002 and divorced in 2010 after nearly 20 years of marriage.

Jolleys, of Woodlands Park, Whalley, was convicted on three charges of obtaining a money transfer by deception, three charges of fraud and one charge of the forgery of his ex-wife’s signature on a bank form.

He was granted bail until his sentencing in March and was warned that he may face a prison term and would be subject to the Proceeds of Crime Act.