Mother Accused Of School Fraud Charge

A mother is due in court today accused of lying about her address in an attempt to get her son into a leading state school.

Mrinal Patel, 41, it is thought Mrs Patel, from London, is the first parent to be prosecuted in this way under the Fraud Act.

She was charged with fraud by false representation and will appear at Harrow Magistrates' Court after council officers found the address she used did not match council tax records.

The 41-year-old applied for a place for her five-year-old son Rhys at Pinner Park first school in Harrow, north London. If found guilty, Mrs Patel faces up to a year in prison or a £5,000 fine.

However, she says she made th application in good faith and denies fraud.

Harrow Council said it was prosecuting her reluctantly, but that the admissions system had to be seen to be fair to all parents.

Mrs Patel told reporters she was using her mother's address following difficulties with her husband, but had now moved back into the family home.

She added that she felt the charge was disproportionate and a waste of taxpayers' money.

The popular Pinner Park First School received 411 applications for 90 available places this September.


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