Thornton civil servant siphoned over £40k into 12 bank accounts from the Department for Work and Pensions

A civil servant on a fast track to the top risked her career by defrauding her department of more than £40,000.

Lauren Wainwright set up 12 bank accounts that she used to divert money belonging to the Department for Work and Pensions, where she was employed as a caseworker.

Blackpool Magistrates Court

Blackpool Magistrates Court

The 52-year-old, of Alder Lane, Thornton, admitted fraud at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court.

Between June 2017 and June last year she diverted public money into the accounts she had set up using people’s National Insurance numbers, the court heard.

Wainwright accepted she had acted against her employer’s interests, making a personal gain of £41,466.50 in the process.

Magistrates decided the case was so serious it had to be sent to Preston Crown Court, where she is due to appear on Feburary 13 for sentencing.

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The charge she has admitted carries a possible jail term.

Philip Robinson, prosecuting, said the money involved had been transferred into the bank accounts in 54 separate payments.

He added: “An investigation took place into her work.

“Investigators spoke to her and she was reported for prosecution. She had set up 12 bank accounts using legitimate National Insurance numbers.”

The court was told Wainwright had been on a DWP “fast stream” system designed to create staff capable of taking top posts in the civil service. It is aimed at developing “future senior leaders”.

Garth Price, defending, said: “Taking account the breach of trust and the amount involved this matter has to be dealt with by the higher court.”