Shoplifter made £500k returning stolen items to stores for cash

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A career criminal made more than half a million pounds after tricking stores into handing over refunds for items she never bought.

Narinder Kaur, 53, “shoplifted on an industrial scale” after travelling across the country to cheat stores out of their cash. A court heard the woman, also known as Nina Tiara, “made it her full-time career” to pinch items from high street shops before fraudulently claiming refunds to which she was not entitled.

Kaur has now been convicted of the “lucrative” scam, which saw a string of shops defrauded more than 1,000 times during a near four-year period.

She’ll be sentenced at a later date, Birmingham Live reports.

Giovanni D’Alessandro, senior Crown prosecutor at CPS West Midlands, said: “Kaur undertook fraud on a long-standing and wide-ranging manner.

“It was a very lucrative full-time job which demonstrably made her over half a million pounds over this period of offending. She went to extraordinary lengths to carry out her deceptions, seeking to find a way of defrauding a retailer and then travelling all over the country to replicate the fraud.

“She also changed her name legally and opened new bank accounts and credit cards in a second identity to avoid detection. She now righty faces a significant sentence for her crimes and the prosecution will look to recoup as many of her ill-gotten gains as the law allows.”

Kaur was convicted by jurors of a total of 26 counts including fraud, possessing and transferring criminal property and perverting the course of justice. She was convicted on March 10 following a four-month trial at Gloucester Crown Court.

The offences took place between July 2015 and February 2019. Prosecutors said Kaur had a number of bank and credit card accounts.

An investigation found she visited Boots stores across the UK and received £60,787.09 in refunds from Boots, despite only spending £5,172.73 at its stores.

The convict was handed £42,853.65 in refunds from Debenhams despite spending only £3,681.33. She also defrauded John Lewis, visiting stores including those in Birmingham and Tamworth, Staffordshire. The defendant received £33,131.61 in refunds but only spent £5,290.36. 

The court heard how Kaur visited Monsoon stores – including Telford and Shrewsbury, both in Shropshire, – and claimed £23,000 more in refunds than in payments made for purchases.

She went on to target House of Fraser stores, spending £2,853.55 but claiming £23,147.75 in refunds. 

Kaur defrauded Homesense stores and spent just £1,181.45 but claimed £19,540.17 in refunds.

TK Maxx was defrauded of £14,563.53, while she cheated Homebase out of £3,238.47, the CPS said. Kaur’s offending also saw her defraud Wiltshire Council of £7,400.

Kaur, from Chosen Hill, Wiltshire, used stolen credit cards to pay for services before asking the council for refunds. She would claim she had accidentally made a payment “with too many zeros”.

Her scam even included a male accomplice who helped her use stolen bank card details to make payments to her own heating oil supplier. The court was told Kaur lied to the court and produced a fake document to dodge being convicted of speeding offences and relax bail conditions.

About £150,000 in cash was found hidden in her home, along with stolen goods, when police scoured it for evidence. The CPS said it was able to prove Kaur was behind the scheme after gathering financial data, retail records, witness evidence and CCTV footage.

The fraudster was spotted on CCTV entering stores, pinching items from shelves and taking them to the till, pretending she had bought them previously. Examination of her accounts proved she was doing this hundreds of times, the CPS added.

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