Lloyds Banking Group Plc’s (LLOY) former head of digital banking fraud and security was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail for submitting false invoices totaling more than 2.4 million pounds ($3.9 million), according to an article from Bloomberg Businessweek.
Jessica Harper, 50, was sentenced to half of a five-year term by a London judge, after Harper gave the money to family and friends, including helping some people buy houses, the article says.
“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,” says Judge Deborah Taylor at the hearing, as reported in the Businessweek article.
Harper pleaded guilty in August to submitting fake invoices between 2007 and 2011, then laundering the proceeds, prosecutors say. Harper’s lawyer, Carol Hawley, argued for the reduced term, arguing that her client confessed and her actions weren’t motivated by greed, the article says.
During the fraud, Harper submitted 93 fake invoices, but she has repaid 709,000 pounds, prosecutors said in court. The chances of her repaying the full amount are “unrealistic,” they said.
Proceeds of the fraud bought houses for Harper’s family and financial aid for friends, the article says. She had a long history of charity work, Hawley says in the article.
Harper, who was earning about 60,000 pounds a year, told investigators that she deserved the money given the hours she worked, the article says.
“She was working under a huge amount of pressure and for a long period of time,” Hawley says in the article. “She describes that period of her life when work became all-consuming. She still today struggles to explain the reason behind her behavior.”