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Army man facing jail for fees fraud

A senior Army officer is facing jail after being convicted of defrauding taxpayers of nearly £200,000 to educate his children at a top private school.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Henry Jolleys, 52, claimed the cash to send his three sons to the exclusive Roman Catholic Stonyhurst College in Lancashire.

He used the "eye-watering" sums of money - totalling £188,063.11 - to provide a privileged education for the boys that he could not have otherwise afforded, Swindon Crown Court heard.

Jolleys, who is known as Henry, kept up the elaborate charade by maintaining to his superiors that he was still married and that his wife Judith lived with him in his Army quarters. His ruse was only rumbled 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 realised the "balloon had gone up" and he set about trying to cover his tracks by changing his personal status.

The continuing education allowance permits 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. He was accused of not informing his superiors of the split - therefore creating a change in his personal status - meaning he may no longer have received the allowance.

Jolleys was convicted of 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. The jury acquitted him of one charge of obtaining a money transfer by deception.

The panel of six men and six women were discharged from considering verdicts on a further charge of obtaining a money transfer by deception and two counts of forgery.

Jolleys, of Woodlands Park in Whalley, Clitheroe, Lancashire, had denied all 11 counts. He was granted bail until his sentencing in March.

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