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A legal adviser has been found guilty of conning two married couples into believing that she had processed their divorces when in reality they were still married.
Lillian Rayne was the manager of the Swalwell Advice Centre in Gateshead where she met the couples who sought advice about getting divorced. Ms Rayne kept the £300 to cover court costs and £60 administration charges both couples paid her. The divorce forms were never filled and the certificates ending their marriages were forgeries, Carlisle Crown Court was told today.
Although the couples remained married, they carried on with their live and started new families after they were told their divorces had come through.
The scam only came light when one of the victims tried to change an error in the spelling of her name on her decree absolute but was told that the court had no record of her divorce. Police were called in and discovered that another couple were also conned.
The 52-year-old is now facing jail after pleading guilty to eight counts of fraud and forgery.
A police spokesman said: "It's been a long-running and complex case. Lilian Rayne was preying on victims who were potentially vulnerable who came to her seeking good advice, but unaware she was a fraudster."
Ms Rayne will be sentenced next month.