Man jailed after lying to judge to lower divorce settlement

Stephen Hughes
Stephen Hughes

A man who forged builders’ cheques and lied to judge in order to prevent his wife receiving a fair divorce settlement has been jailed for 18 months.

Stephen Hughes, 48, tried to make it appear as though he had spent a large sum of money on building work at a property he owned in Morecambe so that he did not have to give his wife a full settlement.

During divorce proceedings at Lancaster County Court in 2009, Hughes presented the judge with a number of cheques and invoices that he had falsified to make it look as though he had paid out substantial sums of money for building work.

Instead he had been transferring the cash to alternative bank accounts in order to hide the money from the court.

He used the money to buy a property in Cape Verde and to pay for expensive holidays.

His deception was revealed during a dispute over another foreign property.

Appearing at Preston Crown Court, Hughes, of Lodges Grove, Morecambe, was found guilty of fraud and perjury and jailed for 18 months.

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Constable, Ciara Campbell, Lancaster CID, said: “This case was one of the most complex I have investigated due to the various different financial transactions involved and Hughes’ thorough attempts to hide the money from his wife.

“He created convincing cheques to, and invoices from, builders which were for often tens of thousands of pounds more than the work had actually cost.

“People should know that they cannot forge documents in the hope of tricking the divorce court - lies told on oath will be revealed and they face going to prison for it.”