€3m scam may lead to jail for ex-bank boss

A former Lloyds bank boss in charge of online security is facing jail for a £2.4m (€2.98m) fraud scam.

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.

Her scam was uncovered after an internal review by Lloyds, who called in police and Harper was arrested.

The 50-year-old yesterday stood in the dock at Southwark Crown Court in London as she spoke quietly to plead guilty to the fraud.

Harper earned about £70,000 a year, but embarked on a scam by submitting false invoices to claim payments to herself totalling £2,463,750, some of it spent on renovating a second home in France.

She was dismissed from her job in January.

Antony Swift, prosecuting, said Harper’s crimes were a “very simple fraud” and she admitted what she had done “within 10 minutes” of the first interview with police.

He told the court Harper had already repaid £300,000 and was in the process of selling her house on Crest Rd, Croydon, south London, for around £700,000 to give back to Lloyds.

Harper has entered guilty pleas to a single charge of fraud by abuse of position and a second charge of transferring criminal proceeds — the money, from Lloyds to herself.

The charges relate to aperiod between Dec 28, 2007, and Dec 21, 2011.

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 today.

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.

“There are some matters to attend to, not least she is in the process of taking steps to repay significant sums of the money that has been taken and has already cashed in her pension and various other shares.”


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