Woman jailed over Wednesbury firm fraud

Woman jailed over Wednesbury firm fraud

A woman dubbed a "determined and practised fraudster" has been jailed for 18 months after conning almost £1,200 from the Wednesbury firm she worked for.

Married Tina Patel had a string of previous convictions but kept them secret when applying for a job at the national headquarters of Walmsley Furnishings. The 34-year-old was given a trial as a sales ledger adminis-trator but was sacked within a year of starting at the Wednesbury Trading Estate offices because she made so many mistakes, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard yesterday.

Officials launched a probe after a large number of receipts were found to be missing, explained prosecutor Miss Raj Punia. It was found that Patel had tricked other stores into paying refunds to customers twice.

She contacted managers to claim first payments had not gone through and asked for another payable to bank accounts which belonged to her husband and herself, it was heard. In 2009, Patel collected £449 from the Skelmersdale branch on March 13 and £689 from the Wrexham store on April 16.

The company fixed two appointments to interview Patel about the missing money when the fraud came to light after she had been sacked but she did not turn up.

Police then swooped on the property in Willenhall where she was living at the time and found debit cards for the two accounts into which scam money had been paid.

Patel from Hilton Street, West Bromwich admitted fraud and was jailed by Judge Amjad Nawaz, who told her: "You are a determined and practised fraudster. A substantial amount of trust had been placed in you after you lied to get the job."

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