Bridgnorth firefighter fined £2,000 over DNA fraud to avoid paying child maintenance
A firefighter embroiled in a child maintenance wrangle has been fined £2,000 after his friend took a DNA test in his place.
Simon Jordan, 33, of Oldbury Wells, Bridgnorth, persuaded his friend Jason Lee Coles, 40, of Princess Drive, Bridgnorth, to provide a sample after a woman applied to the Child Support Agency for maintenance money, naming him as the father.
Both pleaded guilty to an offence of conspiracy to commit fraud against a nurse between July 20 and August 24, 2017.
The court heard Jordan owed £16,000 in CSA payments dating to April 2016 when the woman first applied and enforcement action was under way as he had not paid “a penny” to date.
Mr Davenport said both attended Broseley Medical Centre on August 24 last year but Coles used Jordan’s ID photo and provided a sample.
When that proved negative, the CSA launched checks as the mother was “adamant” Jordan was the father.
Sentencing them at Shrewsbury Crown Court, Judge Peter Barrie told Jordan: "People must take responsibility for the outcome is a child is conceived whatever the circumstances might be. If you now accept that you are the father - then this offence was an attempt to avoid paying by deceiving the child support authorities by providing a test that would not support your paternity.
"You knew full well that a test that would support your paternity would result in support payments.
"This was clearly financially motivated and an attempt to derail support of a child. You did it by persuading your friend Jason Coles to take the test for you. It is clear that the two of you were making arrangements together.
"It's only you who benefits. You influenced him to make it happen."
Mr Andrew Holland, mitigating for Jordan, of Oldbury Wells, Bridgnorth, said: "He has seen the complainant in this matter over the years and there was no mention of a child. It therefore came like a bolt out of the blue when the CSA contacted him to make arrangements for a DNA test.
"He accepts it was an utterly foolish thing to get his friend to take the test for him."
Mr Holland said the matter has passed the custody threshold, but asked the court to suspend the term. He said Jordan was making arrangements to pay the outstanding CSA bill.
Judge Barrie added: "I agree that this sits in Category 4a of the sentencing guidelines. Mr Holland accepts this has clearly crosses the custody threshold. You are the owner of a business that you run and employees depend on you and your family depends on you. You have some health concerns that I have been made aware of and you have not been in trouble before.
"In the circumstances I have come to the conclusion that it is possible and appropriate to suspend the sentence."
In addition to the £2,000 Jordan, also a firefighter, was jailed for 12 months suspended for 18 months, he must carry out 200 hours unpaid work in the community and attend 15 rehabilitation activity days with probation.
Coles, 40, a tree surgeon, was jailed for six months suspended for 12 months, 200 hours unpaid work. Both defendants musts complete the unpaid work within 12 months and must pay the victims' surcharge.
Judge Barrie told Coles: "You did not play such as leading a role as Jordan.You had nothing financial to gain."
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