Former school financial director sued for fraud

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A former school finance director has pleaded guilty to committing abuse of position fraud after spending more than £ 15,000 on personal purchases with a school’s corporate card.

Emma Taylor, of Stone, Dartford, was sentenced to 180 days in prison, suspended for two years and 30 days of re-education with the probation service. She was also ordered to pay £ 500 in costs and £ 115 in victim fine surcharge.

At Medway Magistrates’ Court on Monday February 1, she admitted to committing abuse of position fraud between January 31, 2017 and February 4, 2019. She repaid the total amount of £ 15,065 in February 2020, plus An additional £ 894 which was not included in the criminal investigation.

The court heard that Taylor was employed as the Director of Finance at the Northfleet School for Girls between September 2016 and May 2019. She was responsible for ensuring that the school’s finances are protected and that processes follow regulations. appropriate financial resources.

Taylor received a corporate payment card from the school which was to be used only for items purchased for the benefit of the school.

The Kent County Council Fraud Team was contacted in February 2019 when the Director discovered ongoing transactions during the December 2018 Christmas period with purchases from a designer wallet, Christmas food shopping, restaurant meals, wine and massages.

The fraud team’s investigation revealed more than 250 personal purchases on a personal Amazon account, including; Christmas gifts given to coworkers, indoor surveillance system, furniture, alcohol, gel back massagers, Dyson desk fan, driving experience, gold diamond heart locket 9 carat white, a Cosmo grill gas barbecue, a set of three IT Luggage cases and rattan patio furniture.

The anti-fraud team discovered that the card was also used to purchase personal workouts at a local gym and paid for body massages at a local esthetician.

Following the case, Principal Chris Norwood said: “The Northfleet School for Girls takes a zero tolerance approach to all forms of fraud or malpractice.

“As soon as concerns arose, this matter was brought to the attention of KCC’s fraud control team, which led to a full investigation and prosecution. The affected staff member is no longer working at our school and fund recovery has taken place. “

Richard Long, KCC Education and Skills Cabinet Member, said: “Committing fraud within an educational institution impacts not only the finances of the school, but also those in the school. we try to educate by reducing their available resources.

“My thanks go to the principal and the KCC fraud control team whose vigilance uncovered this fraud and I am very happy that the school has fully recovered the stolen amount.

“This case is a timely reminder that verifying spending on corporate payment cards at all levels is a key financial control to prevent fraud.”


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