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Lloyds ex-security chief jailed for £2.4 mn fraud
LONDON: A former head of online security at Britain’s Lloyds Banking Group was jailed for five years on Friday after defrauding the company of more than £2.4 million ($3.9 million, 3.0 million euros).
Jessica Harper, 50, whose role at the state-rescued bank included fighting fraud, submitted false and doctored invoices between 2007 and 2011 to pay herself £2,463,750, London’s Southwark Crown Court heard.
The fraud took place during the financial crisis, when Lloyds received a huge bailout from the British government.
Harper gave the stolen money to friends and her three brothers to allow them to buy property, the court heard.
“You were a senior employee in the bank in a position with a high degree of trust at a time when Lloyds was substantially supported by a lot of taxpayers’ money,” judge Deborah Taylor told her.
“You disregarded your duties out of a sense of entitlement to take other people’s money for your own benefit and that of your family.”
The judge jailed Harper for five years for fraud and four years for money laundering. The sentences will be served concurrently, and she will serve only half before being released on licence.
The court heard that Harper told police she deserved the money for her long hours and “loyalty” to the firm when she could have earned four times as much elsewhere. She denied personally benefiting from the fraud.
She said she had worked 60 hours a week for two years, first as a senior manager for third-party suppliers and then additionally as interim head of fraud and security.
Harper’s brothers Simeon, Matthew and Gareth Tyrell, who all received money from her, have expressed “shock, upset and surprise”, having believed she had earned the money legitimately, the court heard.
They are selling their properties and returning the money. -- AFP