Page last updated at 16:55 GMT, Monday, 7 July 2008 17:55 UK

Child care officer stole 110,000

A pregnant council officer has been jailed for two years for stealing 110,000 and sending much of the money to her mother in Nigeria.

Bintu Tijani, 35, a children's services manager for Peterborough City Council, drew up fake invoices to steal 10% of her department's annual budget.

At Peterborough Crown Court, Tijani admitted sending 80,000 to her mother.

Recorder Peter Rouch QC, told her she had committed "a sophisticated and serious fraud" in a position of trust.

"You were placed in a position of significant trust and, with determination, you committed a serious and sophisticated fraud to steal a substantial sum of money, tax free."

Ebraham Mooney, prosecuting, told the court Tijani had created an elaborate scheme using 12 fraudulent invoices from imaginary companies to obtain the cash.

Unemployed man

He said she was caught by council fraud investigators following her suspension from work on an unrelated matter in October 2007.

Tijani, responsible for an annual budget of 1.2m for child support strategy, was sacked a month later and the evidence was passed to police.

She got the job at the council in May 2004, despite having disclosed a criminal conviction from 10 years earlier for credit card fraud.

Hugh Vass, in her defence, said his client admitted the offences at the first opportunity but could not explain where all the money had gone.

"She says 80,000 was sent to her mother in Nigeria, and she was also involved with a man who was unemployed and claims she had got into debt subsidising his lifestyle.

"Miss Tijani acknowledges she should feel nothing but shame and realises she has let a lot of people down."

A claim to claw back Tijani's illegal profits has started under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

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