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A former Oadby and Wigston Borough Council employee has been ordered to pay back almost £40,000 which she stole from them fraudulently, as well as from a local cancer charity between 2012 and 2014.

Lynn Middleton, 50, was jailed for 18 months in October for admitted her role in stealing over £35,000 from her former employer (OWBC) where she worked in the HR department, and over £4,000 from Leicester charity Coping With Cancer.

Picture: Oadby & Wigston Borough Council

She and a second woman, Kalvinder Garcha, who was the head of OWBC’s corporate resources department at the time, used their positions to launder money by setting up a fake profile for a non-existent council employee.

The ‘phantom’ employee was Ms Middleton’s sister, Sharon Reeve, who received a salary for two years from the council and seven weeks from charity Coping with Cancer.

Ms Middleton pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud and two counts of conspiracy to money launder in 2019, while Ms Reeves pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to money launder during a trial at Leicester Crown Court.

Last Friday (April 1) under the Proceeds of Crime Act, Ms Middleton was ordered to refund £35,047 to OWBC and £4,123 to the charity – or face a further eight month in prison.

Councillor John Boyce, leader of Oadby & Wigston Borough Council, said: “We always felt it was important to first achieve justice in this case, and then to pursue the money lost as a result of this sophisticated fraud.

“The borough council – alongside the former named Coping with Cancer charity – were victims in this case and we’ve fought for a long time to get to this point.

“£35,000 is a large sum of money that we can now reinvest into the many key services our borough council offers and I hope the way we have pursued this case and clawed back the money stolen sends a strong message”, he added.

“We would like to thank Leicestershire Police and the CPS for their continued support with this case.”

Detective Sergeant Matt Swift from the Economic Crime Unit at Leicestershire Police, said: ‘Both Garcha and Middleton abused their positions within both organisations for their own financial gain, with no regard for the fact that they were not only conning a local authority but also a local cancer charity.

“We are pleased that this case has now, after many years, come to a successful conclusion and we’d like to thank Oadby & Wigston Council and Coping with Cancer for their support and co-operation throughout the last few years.

“Middleton did the right thing earlier in the legal process and admitted her involvement in these offences and also agreed to assist the prosecution”, he added.