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PA in £185k school fraud case

A personal assistant allegedly defrauded an exclusive London school out of more than ?185,000 by duping parents into paying fees into her own bank account, a court in the capital has heard.

Valerie Barber, 56, worked as a PA at Pembridge Hall School, in Notting Hill, when she allegedly stole ?186,392 between December 8, 2010 and May 19, 2014.

Giving parents her bank account details instead of the school?s, she reportedly fraudulently raked in their fees, which are currently ?6,170 per term, Hammersmith Magistrates Court was told.

She was caught when emails between her and parents surfaced, it is alleged. Pembridge Hall is an exclusive independent, fee-paying school in west London that is popular with celebrities.

Kate Shilton, prosecuting, said: ?As well as the high value, this is fraud by abuse of power or responsibility committed over a sustained period of time.?

Recommending the case be dealt with at crown court, Miss Shilton said: ?Clearly, the sentencing powers of the court are not sufficient.?

Barber, of Ealing, west London, was bailed to appear at Isleworth Crown Court on July 28 for a preliminary hearing.

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