Belfast Telegraph

Suspended sentence for fraudster

By Clare Weir

A Co Down businesswoman has received a suspended prison sentence for falsifying invoices and cheques.

Mrs Ada Elliott of Rathdale House, Back Road in Rathfriland, who traded as Balloon Training Ireland, pleaded guilty on Monday at Newry Court to one charge under the Theft Act 1969, three charges under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 and two charges under the Fraud Act 2006. Elliott was sentenced to three months imprisonment, suspended for two years, for each of the six charges and was fined a total of £6,000 plus £28 costs.

She had applied for grant aid from the Rural Development Programme to extend her existing wedding and party supplies business premises in order to allow the company to run balloon training courses.

At the same time she was also a member of the Down Rural Area Partnership (DRAP) which was responsible for administering the Axis 3 element of the programme.

Elliott was on the committee which assesses which DRAP applications are successful.

In her application, Elliott submitted falsified invoices and cheques.