|Woman who stole £93,000 from PPI claim company jailed
An admin manager stole more than £90,000 while working for a PPI claim and settlement company.
Louise Hitchen (17/09/1986), of School Street, Newton-Le-Willows, Merseyside admitted two counts of fraud by abuse of position of trust.
At Liverpool Crown Court today, Monday 19 May 2014, she was sentenced to 12 months in prison.
Hitched was employed by Hardwick Financial Solutions LTD - a company that deal with Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) claims and settlements to clients - on 5 March 2011 as an admin manager.
The company is based in Goose Green, Wigan.
Following a period of poor performance Louise Hitchen left the office on 19 October 2012, and did not return for her next shift. She later resigned.
In December 2012, Hitchen's former line manager was contacted by a customer who was querying where the funds that were due to her were.
An investigation was launched and it was established that the client's money had been paid into Hitchen's account, rather than the account of Hardwick Financial Solutions LTD.
Some funds were returned by Hitchen at this time, including a Vauxhall Astra convertible that she had bought.
The firm also discovered electronic and paper records of transactions had been deleted so they had no way of establishing whether any other funds had been stolen.
A further client then contacted the firm in March 2013, who was claimed to be owed cash.
Police were called and an investigation was launched.
Hitchen's bank accounts were checked and fifteen transfers were identified that had come from two companies who settle claims with Hardwick Financial Solutions LTD.
The total payments into Louise Hitchen's bank account was £93,250.56, £23,849.98 of which has been repaid by her.
The money was used to pay for a breast enhancement and a car and numerous transactions were made at food and retail outlets.
Detective Constable Mark Edwards, from GMP's Volume Fraud Team, said: “In the space of about four months Louise Hitchen stole close to £100,000.
“With the exception of the cosmetic surgery and car - which has since been returned - Louise Hitchen frittered away much of the cash on shopping sprees and trips out.
“The cost to Hardwick Financial Solutions LTD has been significant and has included staff losing their jobs but the only person Louise thought about while she had her 'hand in the till' was herself."