Woman who made £500,000 claiming refunds on stolen items convicted of fraud
A woman who made more than £500,000 by claiming refunds on items she shoplifted on an "industrial scale" has been convicted of multiple counts of fraud.
Narinder Kaur, also known as Nina Tiara, travelled all over the the UK, defrauding various retailers more than a thousand times between July 2015 and February 2019.
During two police searches of her home, about £150,000 in cash was found in addition to stolen goods.
Kaur, 53, from Cleverton in Wiltshire, targeted multiple branches of chains including Boots, Monsoon, House of Fraser and Homesense.
From Debenhams alone, she received £42,853 in refunds despite having spent only £3,681 over a four-year period.
She got £33,131 in refunds from John Lewis stores in Milton Keynes, Watford, Chester, Cardiff, Chichester, Basingstoke, Nottingham, Newbury, Exeter, Southampton, Reading, Birmingham, Tamworth, and Leicester.
That was despite spending just £5,290 between August 2015 and December 2018.
Kaur had "very many" bank and credit card accounts, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said, and made shoplifting her "full-time career".
She also attempted to defraud Wiltshire Council of £7,400 by overpaying using stolen credit cards and then contacting the local authority for a refund claiming she had accidentally made a payment with too many zeros.
Additionally, she worked with a male accomplice to use stolen bank card details to make payments to her heating oil supplier.
Her trial at Gloucester Crown Court lasted four months.
She was convicted of all 26 counts on an indictment which included fraud, possessing and transferring criminal property, and perverting the course of justice.
The CPS, working closely with police, said it was able to "prove the case" by using financial data, retail records, witness evidence and CCTV which "proved Kaur's pattern of offending".
It added: "Close examination of her accounts confirmed the pattern of purchases and refunds and that the same process seen on the CCTV was being repeated on hundreds of occasions."
Giovanni D'Alessandro, from the CPS, said Kaur "undertook fraud on a long-standing and wide-ranging manner", adding: "It was a very lucrative full-time job which demonstrably made her over half a million pounds over this period of offending.
"She went to extraordinary lengths to carry out her deceptions, seeking to find a way of defrauding a retailer and then travelling all over the country to replicate the fraud.
"She also changed her name legally and opened new bank accounts and credit cards in a second identity to avoid detection."
Kaur will be sentenced at a later date.