Loyalty scheme chief gets 16 months for £200k fraud

IceThe finance manager of online retail loyalty points company Ice – run by former Airmiles chief Jude Thorne and ex-AMV boss Michael Baulk – has been jailed for 16 months after admitting to stealing £200,000 from the firm to fund a shopping addiction.
The Ice Organisation launched in 2006 and counts Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Avia and First Choice among its reward partners. It rewards members for making more environmentally friendly purchases.
However, Maidstone Crown Court heard that within a year of being appointed finance manager in June 2010, Klare Meyer was plotting her own purchases by exploiting a loophole in the company’s banking system.
Over a five-year period to February 2016, she paid herself an extra £170,835 while earning an annual salary of £35,000. She also spent a further £22,475 using the company’s credit and debit cards.
Meyer spent the cash on clothes, meals, family holidays and flowers for friends and told a probation officer she was simply addicted to shopping.
But on sentencing, judge Philip Statman said that there was an “unusual pattern” to Meyer’s spending, in that it did not involve luxury goods but involved her spending regularly on family and friends because of her need to be “loved and liked”.
Judge Statman added because her crime was a grave breach of trust committed over a substantial period of time, he had no hesitation in jailing her despite the impact on her family.
Carolina Bracken, defending, said the offending was ‘blatant and wildly reckless’, with holidays in the UK being the most ‘extravagant’ spending.
“There were no expensive restaurants, no stays at expensive five-star hotels, no purchases of expensive jewellery, clothing, bags or shoes,” she told the court.
Confiscation proceedings will be held later this year.

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