Woman jailed for taking £1.3m from employer
Fraudster made string of payments into her own account
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