Lying husband forged wife's signature to take out £75,000 loan

By Ffion Lewis

A man who racked up over £150,000 worth of debts in his wife's name has been spared an immediate jail term.

Rhys Phillips, 50, admitted five counts of fraud through false representation by forging his wife's signature. A sentencing hearing at Newport Crown Court on Thursday heard how Phillips took out a £75,000 mortgage on the family home he shared with his wife Dawn Phillips and their two sons.

The court heard Phillips had taken out the charge in 2017, forging his wife's signature on a number of legal documents to do so.

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The court heard that he took out the charge to try and save his business. He said he had not informed his wife of his company's financial struggles in order to protect the family.

In 2019, following the couple's separation, Mrs Phillips became concerned that post was not reaching her address. After making inquiries she was informed by the postman that her estranged husband had been intercepting the mail.

Shortly after, by chance, Mrs Phillips received a notice to her home address stating that the occupants of the property would be evicted the following month due to the charge having not been paid.

After contacting her solicitor Mrs Phillips was informed that a mortgage of £75,000 had been taken out without her knowledge in 2017 and the charge on this had more than doubled to £155,000 due to lack of payment.

After the matter was reported to police Phillips was interviewed in February 2020 where he made full admissions to the offences.

The property was sold for £293,000 with £155,000 of the sale fee being transferred directly to the mortgage company with the remaining money going to Mrs Phillips.

Phillips is now paying £1,200 in child maintenance fees however the prosecution said this monthly transaction was not repaying the financial damage done by his actions.

In a victim personal statement read to the court Mrs Phillips said she had been on the property ladder since the age of 24 and had lost more than £100,000 because of what her ex-husband had done. She said his deceit had been a "huge burden on my children" and had "affected my mental health".

Judge Jeremy Jenkins, sentencing, told the defendant he had only "yourself to blame" and added: "Every time you put pen to paper you threatened your family with homelessness and destitution."

Phillips, of Llanmihangel Road, Cowbridge, was spared an immediate jail term with the judge saying that should he be given a custodial sentence, his family would lose out on his monthly payments.

He was instead handed a 20-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months. He was also given a 12-month community order as well as 150 hours of unpaid work.

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