Narinder Kaur became a full-time shoplifter who stole items from retailers then claimed refunds on the items she stole, making at least £227,000 over a four-year period in a nationwide scam.
On Tuesday, she was found guilty of 14 offences of fraud, two of money laundering, four of possessing the proceeds of crime, one of conspiracy to defraud and four of perverting the course of justice, after a four-month trial.
Kaur, previously known as Nina Tiara, scammed shops across the West Midlands including in Dudley, Smethwick, Telford and Shrewsbury.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has now released CCTV images of the 53-year-old caught committing her crimes, which the prosecutor at her trial described as being on an "industrial level".
The CPS also released details of some of her frauds between 2015 and 2019.
These included targeting Boots stores in Cheltenham, Malvern, Solihull, Droitwich, Kidderminster, Dudley and Smethwick between July 2015 and September 2019. During that time she received £60,787.09 in refunds from Boots despite having only spent £5,172.73 with the retailer over the same period.
She also received £42,853.65 in refunds from Debenhams despite having only spent have £3,681.33 during a four-year period, and she received £33,131.61 in refunds from John Lewis stores in Milton Keynes, Watford, Chester, Cardiff, Chichester, Basingstoke, Nottingham, Newbury, Exeter, Southampton, Reading, Birmingham, Tamworth, and Leicester, having only spent £5,290.36 between August 2015 and December 2018.
Monsoon stores, including those in Telford, Shrewsbury, Milton Keynes, Maidenhead, Cardiff, Watford, Trowbridge, Reading, Bridgend, Yeovil were also targerted as she claimed £23,000 more in refunds than in payments out to the stores.
Between January and July 2018, Kaur went into House of Fraser stores in Bristol, Cardiff, Cwmbran, Bath, Reading, Cheltenham, Birmingham, Swindon, Solihull, Worcester, Exeter and other locations where she spent £2,853.55 before claiming refunds of £23,147.75.
Between 2018 and early 2019, she defrauded Homesense stores in Bristol, Stafford, Chichester, Taunton, Winchester, Salisbury, Shrewsbury, Oxford, Cannock, Solihull, Cardiff, Worcester, Farnborough, Maidenhead, and Swindon of £19,540.17, yet only spent £1,181.45.
In addition, over the same period she defrauded TK Maxx of some £14,563.53, and Homebase of £3,238.47 between August 2015 and February 2019.
Kaur also attempted to defraud Wiltshire Council of £7,400 by overpaying using stolen credit cards and then contacting the council for a refund, claiming she had accidentally made a payment with too many zeros.
Close examination of her bank and credit card accounts showed the frauds, while during two police searches of her home at Chosen Hill, Cleverton, near Chippenham in Wiltshire, officers found around £150,000 in cash hidden away as well as stolen goods.
The CPS said Kaur was seen entering stores on their CCTV systems, taking items from the shelves and taking them to the tills as if they had been previously purchased. Close examination of her accounts confirmed the pattern of purchases and refunds and that the same process seen on the CCTV was being repeated on hundreds of occasions.
Kaur denied the crimes, leading to a four-month trial at Gloucester Crown Court.
Giovanni D’Alessandro, Senior Crown Prosecutor at CPS West Midlands. said: “Narinder 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.”
She will be sentenced at a later date, but has been warned she faces a lengthy spell behind bars.
Judge Ian Lawrie KC said: “The possibility of Kaur receiving a custodial sentence that could be suspended is highly unlikely as she will be receiving a substantial prison term.
“I am not granting Kaur bail today as she can start serving her sentence now for the broad sweep of convictions she faces. Her world has changed significantly having been found guilty of all 26 charges."