'I deserved the money because I work such long hours': Lloyds
security boss on £60,000-a-year said she was entitled to £2.5million she
stole from bank
millions of pounds were stolen during the height of the financial
crisis when Lloyds received substantial amounts of tax payers money
A former head of online security at
Lloyds Banking Group has been jailed for five years after defrauding the
company of almost £2.5million because she ‘deserved’ it.
Jessica Harper, 50, abused her position to carry out exactly the type of crime she was paid £60,000 a year to combat.
tricked bosses by submitting 93 false and doctored invoices to pay
herself £2,463,750 during the height of the financial crisis, when
Lloyds received substantial amounts of taxpayers’ money.
Crown Court heard that she admitted her crimes to police, telling them
she deserved the money for working such long hours, getting up at 5.30am
and getting home at around 8pm for a salary of between £60,000 and
'I saw the opportunity and thought ‘given the hours I work I deserve it’,' she told officers.
added that she was also entitled to the cash for her 'loyalty' to the
firm when she could earn four times as much elsewhere, but denied
personally benefiting from the fraud.
The money was handed out to friends and her three brothers to allow them to buy houses.
stole the money over four years by creating a dummy bank account in the
name of software firm ISB Ltd which carried out work for Lloyds, even
throwing directors off the scent when they questioned paperwork.She
said she worked 60 hours a week for two years in two jobs, first as a
senior manager for third-party suppliers and then additionally as
interim head of fraud and security.
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Judge Deborah Taylor told her:
'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 following difficulties sustained by the bank in
the financial crisis.
disregarded your duties out of a sense of entitlement to take other
people’s money for your own benefit and that of your family.'Harper, of Croydon, south
London, had previously pleaded guilty to a single charge of fraud by
abuse of position and a second charge of money laundering, both between
December 28 2007 and December 21 last year.'If I went to work for
another company I would probably be earning four times as much.'
Harper's prosecutor said she had sold her home in Crest Road, Croydon, South London, to repay part of the £2,463,750 she stole
But Anthony Swift, prosecuting,
said: 'The reality is that over four years she continued to work for
the bank and fleeced them of £2,463,750.88p.
'She would not have been paid that kind of salary over that period by another bank.'
She knew ISB’s managing director, Simon Sutcliffe, socially and had helped the firm win work with Lloyds.
The court heard that she lied to
ISB’s managing director Simon Sutcliffe, who she knew socially, when he
questioned her over payment receipts, telling him the problem had been
The totally innocent firm was facing the prospect of losing its work with the bank.
brothers, Simeon, Matthew and Gareth Tyrell, who all received money,
all expressed 'shock, upset and surprise' at what she did, saying they
believed she had earned the money legitimately, the court heard.They were helping police and the bank in selling their properties and returning the money.
Swift said claims by Harper of giving some of the money to charity had
not been substantiated, and she had a French bank account they had not
yet been able to examine.
said can repay £1.7 million of the money she took, and has so far
cashed in her pension and shares and sold her home in Croydon to pay
back £709,000, Mr Swift said.Carol
Hawley, defending Harper, said her client had a solid work ethic all
her adult life, with a long history of charity fundraising.
'She was working under a huge amount of pressure and for a long period of time,' Ms Hawley said.
'She describes that period of her life when work became all- consuming.'
Harper was jailed today for five years at Southwark Crown Court after admitting fraud and money laundering
She added that Harper had also been suffering from increasing hearing loss and was now deaf in one ear.
The barrister added: 'She still today struggles to explain the reason behind her behaviour.'
But Judge Taylor replied: 'She gave an explanation at the time to police that she felt entitled to the money she was given.'
judge rejected Harper’s claims of stress caused by two jobs, saying:
'These were roles in which you were expected to show the highest levels
that she believed Harper had benefited financially from the crimes,
while having no thought for the reputation of IBS and its staff.
was jailed for five years for fraud and four for money laundering, to
be served concurrently. She will serve half before being released on
Police said it was actively seeking the return of more of Harper's
assets, in a bid to recoup more of the outstanding money.
Chief Inspector Robin Cross, from the Fraud Squad, said: 'This case is
an example of a serious abuse of position by a senior bank employee who
should have been protecting the bank and its customers against fraud.
Harper stole nearly £2.5 million from the bank over a number of years
and, while she has repaid some of the money, we are actively seeking
further assets for confiscation.
should serve as a warning to any bank employee that the Met will
thoroughly investigate such frauds, which rarely remain undiscovered.
'Jessica Harper has destroyed her own reputation and the sentence reflects the seriousness of the offence.'
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