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Swim school finance manager swindled £32k to 'keep wolf from door'

The fraud was exposed after Julie Jenkins handed in her notice  Picture: GETTY/ISTOCKPHOTO

The fraud was exposed after Julie Jenkins handed in her notice Picture: GETTY/ISTOCKPHOTO

Archant

An Ipswich woman has admitted stashing tens of thousands of pounds into her own bank account while hired to handle the finances of a Suffolk swimming school.

Julie Jenkins, of Ransome Crescent, pleaded guilty to abusing a position of trust and disguising criminal property on Tuesday.

Suffolk Magistrates' Court heard how Jenkins deposited more than £32,000 into her own Lloyds Bank account while finance manager for Ipswich based First Strokes Swim Schools.

Prosecutor David Bryant explained how the firm had grown since being established in 2001 to offer weekly swimming tuition to almost 6,000 children at six different sites.

"The defendant was employed on February 29, 2016 and handed in her notice on February 6, 2018," added Mr Bryant.

"After that, the company discovered non-payments of VAT and pension contributions.

"A new accountant discovered inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the accounts.

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"The defendant had been making unauthorised payments into her own account - disguised in the company's computer accounting system."

The 53-year-old made a total of 57 payments worth £32,145.62 into her current account between April 2016 and January 2018.

During a tearful interview, Jenkins told police she had stolen the money to "keep the wolf from the door".

Mr Brant added: "She said she was sorry; that it was not in her character to have done it, and that the staff were good people.

"She appears before the court, of previous good character."

Given the value of the fraud, and likelihood of an application for the recovery of assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act, Mr Bryant invited magistrates to decline jurisdiction and commit sentencing to a crown court judge.

Shelley Drew, representing Jenkins, told magistrates: "There will, ultimately, be a great deal of personal mitigation to put forward, but she was at pains to enter a prompt guilty plea at the earliest opportunity.

"She was going through a particularly emotionally difficult time, which doesn't give her an excuse, but provides some reasoning for acting so out of character."

A pre-sentence report will be prepared before Jenkins appears before a judge on a date to be set.

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