A firefighter got his lookalike friend to take a DNA test for him so he could avoid paying child maintenance.
Simon Jordan, 33, from Bridgnorth, Shropshire, owed £16,000 to the mother of his child, a nurse who had applied to the Child Support Agency for maintenance money and who had named him as the father.
Rather than pay up, Simon gave his photo ID to his friend Jason Lee Coles, 40, and persuaded him to provide a DNA sample at a medical centre in his place.
Both men pleaded guilty to an offence of conspiracy to commit fraud against the unnamed nurse between July 20 and August 24, 2017. The court heard how Jordan owed thousands of pounds in CSA payments dating back to April 2016 and hadn’t paid ‘a penny’, hence enforcement action was put in place.
To avoid paying what he owed, both Jordan and Coles attended Broseley Medical Centre on August 24 last year to enable the latter to provide a false DNA sample in his friend’s place. When the DNA test came back without a match, the CSA launched further checks as the mother was ‘adamant’ Jordan was the father.
It was then authorities discovered the truth, with both men’s roles in the scheme coming to light. The firefighter, who also owns a business, has now accepted the child is his, Shrewsbury Crown Court heard.
Sentencing them, Judge Peter Barrie told Jordan:
People must take responsibility for the outcome [of] a child [being] 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, said the news he was a father ‘came like a bolt out of the blue’ when the CSA contacted him to make arrangements for a DNA test, but added: ‘He accepts it was an utterly foolish thing to get his friend to take the test for him.’
Mr Holland asked the court to suspend his client’s sentence, saying Jordan was currently making arrangements to pay the outstanding CSA bill. Judge Barrie complied, citing Jordan’s business and saying his ’employees and family’ depend on him.
Jordan received a 12-month suspended sentence and a £2,000 fine for his actions, in addition to 200 hours community payback and 15 rehabilitation activity days with probation.
Coles, a tree surgeon, was given a six-month suspended sentence and 200 hours unpaid work, with Judge Barrie stating he ‘did not play such as leading a role as Jordan’ and had ‘nothing financial to gain’.
Both defendants must also pay the victim’s surcharge.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).