Page last updated at 15:55 GMT, Friday, 28 November 2008

Pregnant fraudster is spared jail

A fraudster who stole thousands of pounds from Transport for London (TfL) "deliberately" fell pregnant to avoid a jail term, a judge said.

Imogen Glyne, 26, was a TfL accounts administrator for just six months when she was recruited by a criminal gang.

Glyne, from Thamesmead, south-east London, stood trial at Southwark Crown Court on two counts of obtaining money by deception in November 2007.

The judge said despite her suspicious timing, he would spare her a jail term.

Glyne fell pregnant as her case was before the courts.

"I do harbour the gravest of suspicions that was done deliberately with these proceedings in mind," Recorder Jonathan Laidlaw, QC, told her in passing sentence.

"But however much you deserve to go to prison I am not prepared to have a child start his or her life in a prison in London."

Instead, Glyne was sentenced to a two-year supervision order and ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

'Breach of trust'

Mr Laidlaw told her she was guilty of a "gross breach of trust" that would normally merit a 12-month jail sentence.

She supplied a criminal gang with false letters from two of TfL's suppliers asking for their bank details to be changed.

That would have enabled cash to be diverted into accounts controlled by the gang.

An initial fraud attempt failed when the wrong bank sort code aroused suspicions.

But the next attempt, targeting advertising giant M&C Saatchi, saw nearly 65,000 paid out to the criminal gang's account.

However, Glyne's co-defendant Nicholas Simpson only obtained 8,800 because bank staff suspected something was wrong and discovered the fraud.

Glyne was arrested and then pleaded guilty to using a false instrument.

Simpson, 23, from Canning Town, east London, who admitted both deception counts and one of attempting to transfer criminal property, was jailed for 12 months.

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