Tyrone woman Adrienne Cathers forged signature of husband to secure loans worth £60,000
A Co Tyrone woman has avoided jail after admitting multiple counts of forging her husband's signature on paperwork relating to two loans.
Adrienne Cathers appeared at Dungannon Crown Court yesterday where she accepted five charges relating to dates between 2003 and 2007.
The loan application offences occurred on November 25, 2003, December 30, 2005 and September 14, 2007, when Cathers (57), from Donaghanie Road, Beragh, made false forms with the intention of inducing others to accept them as genuine.
Also on a date between November 14, 2003 and January 1, 2005 she acted in a similar matter, but this time in respect of a mortgage deed. Finally, on October 4 2007, Cathers made a false loan agreement.
The court heard on each occasion she forged her husband's signature when taking out loans against their home, which was in both names - one for £20,000 and the second for £40,000.
Cathers made regular repayments on the first but after being medically retired she struggled to meet costs. This led to her taking out the second, larger loan.
Arrears mounted and the loan company commenced proceedings to seize the house. Cathers' husband only became aware of events when an enforcement officer arrived at their home.
By this stage the total outstanding funds including interest was in excess of £86,000.
Cathers was interviewed by police and made full admissions.
A prosecution lawyer appearing noted: "Police formed the view it was a relief to the defendant when she confessed."
There was no evidence of Cathers living a lavish lifestyle.
A defence barrister said his client and her husband "are still together and live under the one roof, but their relationship is strained". He explained Cathers had amassed credit card debt and she was solely responsible for the household finances.
He added: "A robbing Peter to pay Paul scenario developed and she put her home in jeopardy. It is a sad reflection for this woman to be before a court for the first time with no record at all."
Judge Stephen Fowler ruled although the custody threshold was met, there were circumstances which would allow him to suspend the sentence.
Cathers was handed a two-year prison term suspended for three years.