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P&O; payroll officer jailed for fraud 20 September 2013

A former P&O; payroll officer described as a “career fraudster” has been jailed for three years after conning the cruise ship company of almost £80,000.

Over a period of five years at parent company Carnival UK, Jacqueline Bowles amended departing staff records and diverted £78,000 to bank accounts set up in her name.

Having already served a prison sentence for theft in 1997, Bowles failed to declare her previous convictions when applying for her payroll job and within four months of starting had begun the fraudulent activity.

In addition to the illicit gains, the 60-year-old received wages amounting to more than £100,000 over the course of her employment there and received redundancy pay of over £7,000 when she left in April last year.

The crimes were only uncovered when a former employee contacted Carnival with queries over their P45, by which time Bowles had already departed from the company.

Appearing at Southampton Crown Court, Bowles pleaded guilty to 15 counts of dishonestly making false representation to make gain.

In mitigation, Bowles’ lawyer said she was remorseful and had accepted she would receive a jail term but pleaded for leniency for someone of her age.

Judge Peter Ralls QC described her as a “career fraudster” and explained that her actions had represented a significant breach of trust.

Bowles was sentenced to 38 months in prison.

Following the sentencing, a P&O; spokesman, said: “The fraud was detected due to the diligence of the current team and following a thorough internal investigation we have put in place various additional safeguards to prevent any further breaches of this kind.”

A confiscation hearing is to take place in the New Year.

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