The banks have been the cause of enormous misery over the past few years, but they don't all get away with it all of the time, at least some of their employees don't.
Jessica Harper was head of security for Lloyd's Banks on-line services, a prestigious, well remunerated and responsible post. Okay, maybe she wasn't on mega-bonuses, but a position like that pays well, she had job security, and probably a fat pension to go with it. Alas, there is only one thing left for the woman who has everything, that is to lose everything.
Last week, she appeared at Southwark Crown Court where she admitted stealing close to two and a half million pounds. She has repaid £300,000 and expects to be able to repay a further £700,000 after selling her house. It is not clear where the rest of the money went, but if the expertise (not) of banksters is anything to go by, it will have been gambled away, more likely on the stock market or in futures rather than in the bookies.
Unlike the petty thieves who took advantage of the riots last August, many of whom were either unemployed or unemployable, she has been remanded on bail until next month when she can expect a custodial sentence. She has even less excuse than Laura Johnson, so hopefully she will receive a heavier sentence than that poor little rich girl.
It should also be borne in mind that Lloyd's is now part owned by the Government, so she wasn't stealing simply from a bank but from the people.
If Jessica Harper carried out a big time fraud, what do you call the scam perpetrated by Matthew Hinds? Gi-normous? Alas, the best laid plans of mice and con men don't always succeed. Hinds was on a cool £500,000 a year, a salary that would surely be more than enough to keep him on the straight and narrow. You'd think so, but that didn't stop him plotting a £54,000,000 fraud in collaboration with a con man. This fraud took place over an eighteen month period in 2007-08, but the law caught up with him in January last year when he was given a seven year sentence. On July 26 this year, like Jessica Harper he appeared at Southwark Crown Court, where a confiscation order was made to recover from him what assets he has. If he fails to comply with this order within six months, he faces another 18 months behind bars.
From thieving banksters to a perverted one. Across the Pond in Statesville, North Carolina, James Paul Byrd has been sentenced to seven years plus for child pornography offences. He also faces probation and registering as a sex offender when he is released. That may sound a high price to pay for in effect looking at pictures, but if he was so keen on underage girls, a man of his means could have paid women to dress up in school uniforms. Pity he didn't think of that at the time.