When news happens, text BONEWS and your photos to 80360 or phone 01204 537274
Bank security boss admits £2m fraud
Former head of fraud and online security at Lloyds Banking Group Jessica Harper has admitted a multimillion-pound fraud
A former Lloyds bank boss in charge of online security has admitted a £2.4 million fraud.
Jessica Harper took the money over a four-year period while working as head of fraud and security for digital banking at Lloyds Banking Group.
Harper stood in the dock at Southwark Crown Court, in London, and admitted a single charge of fraud by abuse of position by submitting false invoices to claim payments totalling £2,463,750.
She also admitted a single charge of transferring criminal property, the money, which she had defrauded from her employers.
The 50-year-old, from Croydon, south London, carried on the fraud between December 28 2007 and December 21 last year, the court heard. Antony Swift, prosecuting, did not open the facts of the case.
Carol Hawley, defending, said Harper was in the process of selling her £700,000 home to repay some of the stolen cash and was due to exchange contracts. She will be sentenced at a later date. Ms Hawley applied for bail for Harper but Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith deferred a decision until retiring to consider the matter.
Ms Hawley told the court: "She appreciates the seriousness and has made full admissions in interview. She understands perfectly well on the next occasion she will be facing imprisonment of some length."
Judge Loraine-Smith allowed Harper bail, with conditions. He said: "The Crown tell me she has co-operated and is unlikely to flee. In those circumstances I can grant her bail on condition of residence at her present home address. And there will be a curfew of 9pm to seven in the morning."
Sue Patten, head of the Crown Prosecution Service, Central Fraud Division, said: "Jessica Harper has today been convicted of the type of crime the bank employed her to combat. The evidence in the case was clear and left Harper with little choice but to plead guilty. In doing so, she has admitted to a huge breach of trust against her former employer.
"Harper was expected to safeguard the financial interests of the bank. Instead, she submitted false invoices totalling more that £2.4 million over a period of four years. She has also pleaded guilty to laundering the funds of the fraud."