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Account Manager prepares for prison for railway company fraud


Accountant prepares for 'years' in jail over Weardale Railway fraud
9:00am Saturday 2nd June 2012 in News  By Bruce Unwin, Chief Reporter (Durham)  from ;http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/9741754.Accountant_prepares_for__years__in_jail_over_Weardale_Railway_fraud/

 Corina Heslop
Corina Heslop A THIEVING accounts manager was yesterday told to expected to spend several years behind bars for defrauding a struggling rail company.

The warning was given to Corina Heslop as she was remanded in custody having been found guilty of nine of the ten charges she faced during a trial that lasted three weeks at Durham Crown Court.

Heslop, 42, was accused of carrying out the fraud against her former employer, British American Rail Services (Bars), which runs the Weardale Railway, in County Durham.

The allegations related to eight Bars cheques paid into her own accounts for sums totalling £36,781 in 2009, when she was its management accountant.

She altered invoices and company records to make it appear the money was paid to creditors for supplies and services.

When it came to light she claimed she was reimbursing herself for payments made in cash from her own funds on behalf of the company.

Heslop was also accused of damaging computer records to remove data at the Bars’ offices alongside Stanhope Railway Station, in County Durham, as well as having company documents at her home in Bishop Auckland for potential use in further fraud.

Heslop, of Rookhope Grove, denied eight counts of fraud, plus one each of criminal damage and possessing items for use in fraud.

  Over the past two days, the jury returned guilty verdicts on all but the criminal damage offence, for which she was cleared.

Following the last of the verdicts, yesterday, Judge Christopher Prince remanded her in custody pending completion of probation reports.

But he told her: “The guidelines under which I operate, for an offence of this type, involving nearly £40,000 from an employer, you would be expected to receive a sentence of between four and five years.”

Heslop is also to be sentenced for a previous conviction for fraudulently obtaining £70,000 in housing benefit over an eight-year period by falsifying a document purporting that she was tenant at the house she actually owns.

Judge Prince told her: “For an offence of that nature the sentence would be of the order of 12 months and so the overall sentence could be between four to six years.”

Heslop will be sentenced on Friday, June 29.

Her husband, 45-year-old James Raymond Heslop, also of Rookhope Grove, who denied criminal damage and possessing items for use in fraud, was cleared after formal “not guilty” jury verdicts following directions from the judge earlier in the trial.


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