Woman jailed for tak­ing £1.3m from em­ployer

Fraud­ster made string of pay­ments into her own ac­count

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Nuts & Bolts - By Sa­man­tha Wil­liams

A pay­roll of­fi­cer who stole more than £1 mil­lion from the com­pany she worked for has been jailed for nearly six years.

Fraud­ster Pauline El­freda Bar­rett, 55, of Hay­wain Close, Ash­ford, trans­ferred 28 pay­ments to­talling £1.3 mil­lion to her bank ac­count from oil and gas com­pany Saipem, based in Kingston, south west Lon­don, over a four-year pe­riod.

She did so by edit­ing emails from the firm’s ac­coun­tants so it ap­peared they were re­ceiv­ing de­mands for pay­ment from HM Rev­enue & Cus­toms.

The pay­ments were ap­proved, but the ben­e­fi­ciary ac­count de­tails were in fact Bar­rett’s.

At least 28 trans­fers were made into Bar­rett’s ac­count be­tween Novem­ber 2010 and Septem­ber 2014, the high­est amount to­talling £80,000. She was charged with 10 counts of fraud by false rep­re­sen­ta­tion and one count of theft. These were sub­se­quently merged into one count of fraud by abuse of po­si­tion, to which she pleaded guilty on Fe­bru­ary 20 at Kingston Crown Court.

Sen­tenc­ing, how­ever, was de­layed un­til last month, when she was sen­tenced to five years and eight months’ im­pris­on­ment. Det Sgt Mick Walker, of the Met Po­lice’s fraud and cy­ber crime team, Fal­con, said: “Bar­rett stole a huge amount of money from her em­ployer.

“For four years, Bar­rett abused her po­si­tion of trust within the com­pany. Her theft was calcu- lated. At first she made de­mands for small sums of money as she wanted to test the wa­ter.

“How­ever, as her con­fi­dence grew, so did her de­mands. The largest pay­ment she fab­ri­cated was for around £80,000.”

Pauline El­freda Bar­rett

Pic­ture: Adam Gault / Getty Im­ages

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