Former security chief at Lloyds Banking Group faces fraud charges

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The Independent Online

A former fraud and security chief at Lloyds Banking Group is to be prosecuted over an alleged £2.5m fraud, in an embarrassing development for the part-nationalised bank.

Jessica Harper, 50, who ran the fraud and security operation at the group's digital banking unit, is accused of creating false invoices totalling £2,463,750 between 1 September 2008 and 21 December 2011 that do not relate to her personal expenses.

Ms Harper is no longer an employee of the bank. She will appear before Westminster magistrates' court on Thursday.

Andrew Penhale, of the Crown Prosecution Service's central fraud group, alleges that "Jessica Harper dishonestly and with the intention of making a gain for herself, abused her position as an employee of Lloyds Banking Group".

She is not thought to have submitted fake personal expenses. Instead, prosecutors are focusing on whether business invoices were dishonestly redirected for personal gain.

A Lloyds spokesman declined to comment while court proceedings are ongoing. Ms Harper's solicitor, John Armstrong, also declined to comment.

The alleged fraud came to light as part of an international investigation at the bank. No customers are thought to have been affected.