TUI call staff guilty of £400k theft

Four contact centre workers have been found guilty of stealing over £400,000 from TUI Travel by paying customer refunds to themselves when processing claims.
The colleagues at TUI UK Newcastle call centre – Kathleen Clark, Christopher Mitchell, Andrea Hardy and Cheryl Smith – realised they could easily use the company’s card machine to process ‘fake’ refunds, transferring money from their employers’ bank accounts into their own. The scam snowballed, resulting in the four stealing more than £400,000 from the company.
They were arrested after the missing money was discovered in an audit following the closure of the call centre. Passing sentence at Newcastle Crown Court, Judge Paul Sloan said: “The offending by each of you was a breach of trust.”
Clark began stealing just a few hundred pounds at a time to fund her addiction to online gambling. But over a period of almost two years, she transferred £272,539 to her own accounts.
After she was sacked from the company for a unrelated matter, she continued the crime by keeping hold of her key fob and returning to the office at night.
Mitchell was initially asked by the company to help find out which of his colleagues were responsible when the thefts were discovered. But police investigations revealed he had paid £74,330 into his own accounts. Smith took £26,199, while Hardy paid herself £31,205.
Jailing Clark for 30 months and Mitchell for 16 months Judge Sloan said: “Your offending is so serious only an immediate custodial sentence can be justified.”
Smith was handed a 51-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and Hardy a 36-week sentence, suspended for the same period.

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