Two employees at Barchester’s Longueville Court Care Home in Peterborough have been found guilty of stealing over £400,000 from the operator.
Melissa Obradovic and Rebecca Purnell were working as administrators at the care home and siphoned a total of £426,140.90 from the company’s accounts.
Both women pleaded guilty to the charges and were jailed for three years and four months.
Peterborough Crown Court was told that Ms Obradovic used details of four former employees to set up payments that were diverted into her own bank account. This netted her £54,266.
The fraud was discovered when HMRC got in touch with the four people, chasing them for unpaid tax.
During the course of that investigation, it was discovered that Obradovic and Purnell had also created a a fake supplier company that generated false invoices to Barchester Health Care, with payments made to their own accounts.
Jonathan Masters, prosecuting, told the court Obradovic (27) and Purnell (33) spent the stolen money on holidays and even a “lavish wedding” for Purnell.
Mr Masters said almost all the cash had been spent, but proceedings have begun to recover proceeds of the crime.
In his sentencing statement, Judge David Farrell said: “This was a very sophisticated fraud involving a number of transactions over a significant period of time. The company has clearly suffered. It has affected its reputation and has not been able to spend money on refurbishments and other things it would like to improve resident’s lives.”