Drugs and deception fraudsters sentenced

PRISON has been avoided by a pair found guilty of money laundering and drug offences.

Friday, 16th July 2010, 11:36 am

Karen Schofield, 50, was sentenced to a 12 month community order which would include 120 hours community service after being found guilty of laundering criminal property.

Schofield, of Lower Laithe Avenue, Todmorden, was also guilty of two counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception.

She was found guilty of signing two mortgage applications worth 40,000 and 120,000 each in which she claimed to be a school teacher earning more than 40,000 a year.

Craig Rooks, 43, Schofield's former partner, had confirmed he had been the main instigator in the mortgage applications, Bradford Crown Court heard during the trial.

He also pleaded guilty to charges of possession of Class B drugs after 663g of amphetamine and more than 400 diazepam tablets were found at the home he shared with his current partner, Heather Bower.

Rooks, of Badger Wood, Todmorden, was given a nine month suspended sentence and a 12 month community order with 150 hours community service.

Bower, 34, received a 12 month community order with 100 hours community service after she earlier pleaded guilty to possession.

Judge Alistair McCallum said that no money had been lost by the bank involved but added: "The case took on a very different complexion. Initially I thought I would be sending you all to prison."

Detective Sergeant Bill Hargreaves, who leads Calderdale Police's Proceeds of Crime Act Team, said: "It was a very long and complex investigation which came under quite intense scrutiny at the trial but it stood up to that scrutiny. "Any assets obtained through these criminal activities will be seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act. "Credit should go to PC Keith Potts, financial investigator Nigel Crowther and Det Con Tony Chapman for their role in the investigation."

After the case, DS Hargreaves spoke about the Why Should They? campaign, which targets people who are benefiting from crime and aims to recover assets that have been criminally obtained.

"Most people know someone who appears to be living above their means and believe them to be funding a lifestyle by crime," he said.

"We urge people who know someone to be living off the proceeds of crime to call 0800 555111."