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PA spends £264k of company cash on luxury goods

Yorkshire office manager avoids jail for theft

Jean Tugwete, PA to the Chief Executive of London marketing firm Communisis, has been jailed for three years for using her company credit card to spend £264,000 on designer handbags, foreign travel and a car.

Tugete reportedly lied to get the job at the firm by hiding previous convictions for similar scams. She then used her company credit card over her three-year employment to pay for £264,000 worth of goods.

According to Prosecutor Nadia Silver, Tugwete bought items such as a Peugeot car for £8,851, a £4,500 sofa and £11,000 worth of travel for her and her family, including tickets to Australia.

Her collection of handbags bought with the card include designer names such as Louis Vuitton, Prada and Chanel. She also purchased jewellery, bicycles, household goods and other high-value goods. Police found her home crammed with designer bags and shoes when she was arrested last February.

The Clacton Gazette reports that Tugwete covered her tracks by using strips of paper and Tipp-Ex to change the description of purchases on bank statements to make them seem like legitimate expenses. She later downloaded specialist software from the internet to amend the documents.

She was caught when a colleague found a flash drive containing original drafts of the statements. The court heard Tugwete had previously been convicted of the same crime while she worked for an academic at a London university and once stole a credit card from a friend.

Tugwete, who admitted fraud and two counts of false accounting, claims some of the money was used to pay for hospital treatments for her sick son in Zimbabwe.

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