Woman admits £37,460 defraud of employer

A 56-YEAR-OLD woman from Portishead with a 'gambling problem' has pleaded guilty to defrauding her employers of almost £40,000

A 56-YEAR-OLD woman from Portishead with a 'gambling problem' has pleaded guilty to defrauding her employers of almost £40,000, a court has heard. Jeanette Shapland, of Westhill Gardens, admitted eight counts of forgery and two of fraudulently claiming money from A G Neads, before magistrates at North Somerset Courthouse in St Georges.Shapland (right), who was employed as an administrative assistant at the Clevedon-based builders, stole the money by forging the owner Andrew Neads' signature over a period of three years from 2004. The defendant admitted the 10 charges and a further 33 using cheques to defraud were taken into consideration amounting to a total of £37,460.Philip Robbins, prosecuting, said: "This came to light on July 7 when Mr Neads received a call from Lloyds TSB querying a signature on a cheque.Mr Neads asked for the cheque to be sent to him and realised it was not his signature.The owner put the incident down to an administrative error and thought nothing of it.The fraudster was only rumbled when Mr Neads later realised the supplier named on the cheque was usually paid by direct debit rather than a cheque.He telephoned the police who arrested and interviewed Shapland where she admitted to the other charges.Mr Robbins told magistrates: "She said she got into financial difficulties because of a gambling problem. In total, there were 43 suspicious cheques between January 2004 and July 2007."When considering how this matter should be disposed you should bear in mind she has no previous convictions."This matter is not suitable for this court because of the amount of money involved, the breach of trust, the length of time in which this had taken place and because she didn't own up at the first opportunity."Shapland was released on unconditional bail and was ordered by magistrates to appear at Bristol Crown Court on November 5.

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