Woman accused of £2.5m Lloyds scam

Lloyds Banking GroupA former security chief at Lloyds Banking Group is to be prosecuted over an alleged £2.5 million fraud.

Jessica Harper is accused of carrying out the scam while working as head of fraud and security for digital banking, the Crown Prosecution Service said.
The false invoices totalling £2,463,750 do not relate to her personal expenses, a source said.

Harper will appear before magistrates next week accused of one count of fraud by abuse of position between 2008 and 2011.

Andrew Penhale, of the CPS Central Fraud Group, said he had authorised Scotland Yard to charge her.

He said: "The charge relates to an allegation that between 1 September 2008 and 21 December 2011, Jessica Harper dishonestly and with the intention of making a gain for herself, abused her position as an employee of Lloyds Banking Group, in which she was expected to safeguard the financial interests of Lloyds Banking Group, by submitting false invoices to claim payments totalling £2,463,750.88, to which she was not entitled.

"This decision to prosecute was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. We have determined that there is a realistic prospect of conviction and a prosecution is in the public interest."

She will appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

Mr Penhale said: "Jessica Harper now stands charged with a criminal offence and has the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice this trial."

Lloyds Banking Group is now 39.7% state-owned after being bailed out by the Government in the throes of the financial crisis. The lender refused to comment on the charging decision against Harper. A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed she was arrested on December 21 by officers from the the force's fraud squad.

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