While many people view fraud as being a crime that involves taking money or distributing money, this isn’t the case. Fraud can involved all manner of items and quite often it will see someone taking or appropriating something of value in their workplace. While you may think that pocketing the odd pen or notepad from your place of work is a perk of the job, there are some people who take it a lot further than that. People who find themselves in a position to purchase items at their place of work may actually find that provides this level of temptation that is too high to ignore.
This was the case for one former post-room supervisor who took advantage of a change in working practices at her company to take part in a fraud. This is the thing to remember about crime and fraud in the workplace, it will often start out by chance or coincidence. There are definitely some crimes that are carried out by folk who have a clear plan in mind but there are also people who find that an opportunity falls directly into their lap, and they may actually think what the harm in carrying out such a crime is. Sadly there is often a crime involved and many people have found that there is a great deal of problem and issues arising from their activities.
Sometimes an Opportunity to Commit Fraud presents Herself
This was the case for Sheila Ord who was employed by Balfour Beatty, a global infrastructure firm. Sheila was employed in the post room and one of her duties was to order in parcels and stamps. The company altered their standard working practice and begun using a franking machine. This should have removed the need for Ord to order stamps but she continued to do so. When the stamps arrived, Ord sold them on, hauling in a considerable level of income for herself. The court heard that over a three year period, Ord is believed to have sold around £100,000 worth of stamps onto a buyer in Leeds. Ord may not have made £100,000 in sales, this will have been the cost to the company, but whatever profit she did make was clear profit, so it would have been a notable figure no matter what it was.
A Jail Sentence Looks Likely for the Accused
Ord has been informed that she faces a jail sentence for this abuse of power that she undertook at her place of work in the North Tyneside branch of the firm.
Paul Cross in defence said; “This is, almost inevitably, going to carry a prison sentence. But, this lady is of previous good character. It’s an unusual situation for her to get herself in to. My submission is a report from the Probation Service would assist the court in determining any length of sentence.”
Sentencing has been adjourned while a report is prepared for the court and in court, the Recorder Slater stated; “You have pleaded guilty to this indictment. The next stage of the proceedings is for the Probation Service to provide a report upon you for the information of the sentencing court. The sentence will take place on June 4. In adjourning the case for a report and extending your bail, I make no promises as to how the sentencing judge will ultimately deal with you. All options are open, in particular custody in this case, as I’m sure you understand.”
Ord was previously involved at a hearing at the Magistrates Court in North Tyneside in March of 2015. During that hearing, the prosecutor, Claire Thomasson, stated; “This is a lady who was in charge of the post room at Balfour Beatty and continued to buy stamps from 2011 when everything became franked. She had sold those stamps to a person in Leeds. She had a leading role – she organised it all.”
This is the sort of crime that could well be taking place all across the country with many firms being unaware that it is taking place. It is obviously a very serious crime and there are huge consequences from this sort of crime, including possibly facing a POCA case. This is where calling on highly experienced solicitors can make all the difference when it comes to being represented in the most effective manner.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.