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Locks and Security News: your weekly locks and security industry newsletter
17th April 2019 Issue no. 453

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Lloyds security chief jailed for "unsophisticted" fraud

The former head of online security at Lloyds Bank has been sentenced to five years in jail for defrauding the bank of more than £2.4 million between 2007 and 2011.

Jessica Harper, 50, submitted false invoices to claim payments. She used the money to buy friends and family property and spent thousands of pounds on landscaping her garden in Croydon.

She also spent money on investment properties in France and to finance her friends purchase and rental of holiday homes.

It has been reported that Ms Harper felt that because of the long hours she worked she felt that she "probably deserved it," referring to the ill-gotten gains.

The case marks another dark episode in British banking this year and involves a bank that has been bailed out by the UK taxpayer. Ms Harper said that the pressure of the financial crisis influenced her to commit the crimes.

The judge said she would have to serve two-and-a-half years of the five-year sentence.

In total she produced 93 false and doctored invoices to pay herself a total of £2,463,740, whilst working as head of fraud and security for digital banking at Lloyds TSB. She was earning £60,000 a year in her role.

Ms Harper, from South Croydon admitted to fraud by abuse of position and transferring criminal property defrauded from her employers.

Judge Deborah Taylor told Ms Harper: "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.

"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."

She gave lots of the money to her three brothers, which they invested in property and misled them into thinking that the money had come from the massive salary that they thought she was receiving.

Antony Swift, prosecuting, said: "Their understanding was that their sister was very well paid. They believed she could afford to be financially generous towards them.

"They all expressed shock, upset and surprise at their sister's behaviour."

The Judge said that she thought Harper benefitted from the fraud, but Ms Harper denies this.

Harper had previously told investigating officers that she felt she deserved the money because of the hours she worked. Ms Harper's defence lawyer, Carol Hawley told the court that her client had a long history of charity fundraising.

Ms Harper has now sold her home to help repay the money and has so far repaid £709,000.

26th September 2012




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