Former Lloyds digital security chief to be prosecuted over £2.5m fraud claim

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A former security chief at Lloyds Banking Group is to be prosecuted for a £2.5m fraud, it has been announced.

Jessica Harper is accused of carrying out the scam while working as head of fraud and security for digital banking, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

The allegations involve false invoices totalling £2,463,750 do not relate to her personal expenses, a source said.

Harper, from Croydon, will appear before magistrates next week accused of one count of fraud by abuse of position between 2008 and 2011.

Andrew Penhale, of the CPS Central Fraud Group, said he had authorised Scotland Yard to charge her, five months after she was initially arrested by investigators.

He said: “The charge relates to an allegation that between 1 September 2008 and 21 December 2011, Jessica Harper dishonestly and with the intention of making a gain for herself, abused her position as an employee of Lloyds Banking Group, in which she was expected to safeguard the financial interests of Lloyds Banking Group, by submitting false invoices to claim payments totalling £2,463,750.88, to which she was not entitled.

“This decision to prosecute was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. We have determined that there is a realistic prospect of conviction and a prosecution is in the public interest.”

She will appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

Mr Penhale said: “Jessica Harper now stands charged with a criminal offence and has the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice this trial.”

Lloyds Banking Group is now 39.7 per cent state-owned after being bailed out by the Government in the throes of the financial crisis.

The lender has refused to comment on the legal developments involving Harper while legal proceedings are taking place.

A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed she was arrested on December 21.

It is believed she was arrested after detectives from the Metropolitan Police economic and specialist crime unit received a tip-off.