Amazon saw Northfleet School for Girls CFO use a company card to spend £ 15,000 on Christmas gifts, Dyson desk fan, Cosmo barbecue and rattan patio furniture

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A former bursar used her school’s corporate card to fund a £ 15,000 Amazon frenzy on a slew of lavish purchases, including patio furniture, massages, Christmas meals and a designer wallet.

Emma Taylor, who was the director of finance for the Northfleet School for Girls, pleaded guilty to a fraud charge after being discovered in February 2019 by principal Chris Norwood.

Taylor spent £ 15,000 on Amazon

Investigators found that more than 250 purchases were made in a two-year period between January 31, 2017 and February 4, 2019.

Taylor, of High Trees, Stone, near Dartford, admitted an abuse of position fraud charge at a hearing in Medway Magistrates’ Court earlier this month.

An investigation found that Taylor, who joined the Hall Road School in September 2016, spent £ 15,065 on personal purchases, including the purchase of a Dyson desk fan, barbecue and even gifts from Christmas for his school colleagues.

It wasn’t until Mr Norwood discovered a series of suspicious transactions using the school’s corporate card made in the run-up to Christmas 2018 that investigators were called in.

The team discovered that a designer wallet, Christmas food purchases, restaurant meals, wine, and massages were all purchased using the corporate card issued to them only for purchase items for the benefit of the school.

Northfleet School for Girls at Hall Road, Northfleet.  Image: Google
Northfleet School for Girls at Hall Road, Northfleet. Image: Google

Mr Norwood reported the purchases to the Kent County Council Enforcement Team.

They discovered that Taylor had also used the card to purchase several gifts and items through a personal Amazon account, including an indoor surveillance system, furniture, alcohol, gel back massagers, a Dyson desk fan, driving experience, a diamond heart-shaped locket in nine karat white gold. , a Cosmo grill gas barbecue, a set of three IT Luggage cases and a rattan garden furniture set.

Taylor, who left his post at the school in May 2019, three months after the investigation began, repaid the full amount owed to the school in February 2020 – 12 months after his crime was discovered.

She also reimbursed an additional £ 894 not included in the criminal investigation, bringing the total to £ 15,959.

Magistrates sentenced Taylor to 180 days in prison suspended for two years and 30 days of rehabilitation with the probation service. The court ordered him to pay £ 500 in costs and £ 115 in victim fine surcharge.

Taylor, whose role was to make sure the school’s finances were protected and the proper financial regulations were followed, also used the card for personal gym workouts and body massages at a nearby beautician. from home.

Director Chris Norwood reported the incident to counter fraud investigators after discovering suspicious transactions in February 2019
Director Chris Norwood reported the incident to counter fraud investigators after discovering suspicious transactions in February 2019

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Norwood said: “The Northfleet School for Girls takes a zero tolerance approach to all forms of fraud or malpractice.

“As soon as concerns arose, this matter was brought to the attention of KCC’s fraud control team, which led to a full investigation and prosecution.

“The affected staff member is no longer working at our school and fund recovery has taken place. “

Emma Taylor admitted fraud charge in Medway Magistrates' Court
Emma Taylor admitted fraud charge in Medway Magistrates’ Court

Richard Long, KCC Education and Skills Cabinet Member, said: “Committing fraud within an educational institution impacts not only the finances of the school, but also those in the school. we try to educate by reducing their available resources.

“My thanks go to the principal and the KCC fraud control team whose vigilance uncovered this fraud and I am very happy that the school has fully recovered the amount stolen.

“This case is a timely reminder that verifying spending on corporate payment cards at all levels is a key financial control to prevent fraud.”

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