A DISHONEST Halesowen mother-of-two who pocketed thousands of pounds by making a string of bogus insurance claims has avoided spending time behind bars.

Rachael Shoer had worked in the insurance industry for over 20 years and she “knew how to milk the system”, said Judge Barry Berlin.

He said the 42-year-old, a woman of previous good character, had used a number of false names to take out insurance policies as she repeatedly claimed for lost jewellery.

She maintained one expensive engagement ring had been lost while she was gardening, while a replacement ring and a wedding ring had disappeared in transit.

She claimed a third engagement ring went down the drain in the shower at her home, and another ring went missing after she had a manicure.

Alexander Barnfield, prosecuting, told Wolverhampton Crown Court the claims made by Shoer, of Century Way, involved around £19,000.

But the judge ruled after a Newton Hearing to determine the facts, that a number of other claims made by Shoer about water damage at her home had not been proved by the prosecution.

He said it was clear Shoer knew what she was doing after her years working in insurance and he was satisfied a number of the claims she made were fictitious.

The judge said she had failed to come up with a reasonable explanation about where she had bought her replacement jewellery adding: “You simply set this up because you knew your claims were false.”

He stressed: “This all adds up to serious dishonesty,” as he told Shoer that if she ever made another false claim about a missing engagement ring her feet “would not touch the ground”.

Shoer pleaded guilty to six charges of fraud and she was given a 15 month jail term, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work in the community.

She will also have to attend a Proceeds of Crime Hearing next year when assets could be seized to compensate for the money she illegally put in her pocket.

Followed a pattern

Investigators from the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) discovered Shoer followed a pattern of taking out a policy with a different insurer every year under a different name.

She admitted that because of her terrible claims history under her real name she was unable to take out home insurance and therefore used false details to ensure she could receive insurance cover.

Over the course of seven years (2009-2016), Shoer’s fraudulent claims ranged from property damage to theft - including multiple incidents where she used original pictures from her own wedding and 40th Birthday to make false claims on an engagement ring.

She had many roles working in the insurance industry, and worked as an underwriter for an insurer during the time she was making the claims.

This meant she had extensive knowledge of the industry insurance and would have been aware of the crime she was committing by making false claims.

Case referred to IFED

The fraud initially came to light on December 10, 2015, when Shoer attempted to take out two insurance policies with one of the multiple insurance companies.

They started an internal investigation, and using their own database, saw that several policies had been taken out with the same address, but under different names.

On July 7, 2016, the insurance company collated all the information they had discovered in their internal investigation and referred the case to IFED to begin a formal investigation.

Following this, investigators contacted several insurance companies and identified a number of policies that had been taken out in the preceding years, again with the same address but each under a different name.

Shoer's employer confirmed with IFED that they only had one name in their employee database for her, which was Rachel Shoer, and that all other names were completely false.

City of London Police’s Detective Constable Daryl Fryatt, who led the investigation for IFED, said: “Rachel Shoer has been persistently deceitful and given her experience as an underwriter, it’s clear that she was keenly aware of the multiple offences of fraud she was committing.

“Our Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department’s hard work in uncovering the full extent of her actions, with the help from two insurance companies, has ensured that she has been dealt a punishment that matches the severity of her crimes.”