A former Army officer has been convicted of fraudulently claiming more than £180,000 to send his children to a prestigious boarding school.
Robert Henry Jolleys, 52, took £188,063.11 in allowances for private school education fees from the Army’s Continuous Educational Allowance.
The scheme pays for 90 per cent of boarding school education fees for the children of serving members of the Army in certain circumstances.
Lt Col Jolleys separated from his wife and no longer qualified for the cash as he ceased to be the main financial provider for his three sons.
But he failed to notify higher personnel and completed forms claiming he was still married to receive the money five years after the couple had separated.
His scheme paid for sons Rupert, 22, Charles, 20 and William, 15, to attend prestigious £28,000-a-year Stonyhurst College in Clitheroe, Lancs.
Jolleys denied 11 counts of fraud, deception and forgery but he was convicted of three counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception, three of fraud and one of forgery.
Recorder Jeremy Wright released Jolleys on bail following the jury’s verdict at Swindon Crown Court but said it was “no indication of the likely result” of sentencing.
He said: “I think you can deduce the likely result having regard for the large sums of money involved.”
The jury found Jolleys not guilty of one count of obtaining a money transfer by deception and was discharged from considering verdicts on a further charge of obtaining a money transfer by deception and two counts of forgery.
His convictions related to claims totally £188,063.11 between April 2004 and December 2009.
Prosecutor Nicolas Gerasimidis told the jury how Jolleys carried out the fraud while working for the Directorate of Education Training Services for the Army in Swindon.
He said: “As a senior officer he would have been well versed in his obligations when it came to the disclosure of this personal circumstances.
“He knew precisely what the rules were.
“The point at which his marriage broke down it was his obligation to tell those above him and it was up to him to try and change his categorisation
“But he did not. It was all about getting boarding school fees paid for when he was not entitled to it.”
He said Jolleys carried out the fraud while working for the Directorate of Education Training Services for the Army in Swindon, Wilts.
High-ranking officer Jolleys admitted to the court that he knew the “broad rules” around claiming the cash.
The deception was uncovered by accident in 2009, years after the separation, when Judith phoned Jolleys’s base to find out where he was.
Judith told officers she was no longer married to Jolleys – a surprise to his superiors who received paperwork from him stating that his circumstances had not changed.
Jolleys, described as a “highly intelligent and clever man”, was also living in quarters specifically for serving members of the Forces who were married.
Mr Gerasimidis said he would not have been able to fund his schools through the Roman Catholic school.
He added: “It would otherwise be unaffordable for an officer earning the money the Lt Col was.
“It is a very impressive school, it is precisely the sort of place you would want your children to go.
“It is for that reason extremely expensive, which is shown in the eye-watering sum of money he claimed.”
Jolleys will be sentenced at Swindon Crown Court in March.