A Nigerian woman in the UK has been convicted after she started embezzling money from the firm where she worked on her second day in the job to fund a luxury wedding. Gabrielle Yinka Saunders, 32, used company credit cards to pay more than £10,000 for her wedding reception venue, as well as over £5,000 for a honeymoon in the Seychelles.
According to DailyMail, Saunders, now known as Gabriella Osborne since her wedding to David Osborne, got married at Belair House in Dulwich last September. She was arrested at Heathrow when she returned from the honeymoon. However, the fraudster has been spared jail even though a court heard that she had been convicted of fraud twice previously.
Gabriella stole £35,000 from her previous employer PriceWaterhouseCoopers, where she worked as a tax accountant.
She came to the UK from Nigeria and graduated from Southampton University with a law degree in 2004, before starting work at PwC.
While working at the multinational firm, Saunders forged taxi receipts to destinations across the country at up to £250 a time, then signed them off by faking a colleague’s signature.
In 2007 she was jailed for six months for fraud, and in 2011 she was again convicted of fraud but spared jail after a court heard she had stolen money from neighbour using credit cards.
Gabriella started a £40,000-a-year job as a personal assistant at Insight Investments in June last year. The day after Saunders started working at Insight Investments in June, she charged £5,272 to a colleague’s credit card in order to pay travel agent Trailfinders for her luxury honeymoon with husband David Osborne.
She proceeded to embezzle a total of £17,000 using her colleagues’ credit cards – including £600 for flowers, £270 on a new watch, £210 on a new outfit and £400 for a mobile phone.
In September she used another colleague’s card to pay £10,254 to Belair House, £268.20 to the jeweller Andrew Charles, £597 to PESH flowers, £208.44 to fashion store ASOS and £390 to EE T-mobile.
Prosecutor Roger Daniells-Smith said:
‘She paid for a prestige wedding venue, she paid for the flowers, she paid for her honeymoon outfit and clothing. She paid for phone calls to make these arrangements and she paid for the gift of a watch. She paid for the honeymoon which was a first-class trip to Dubai and then on to the Seychelles. They were arrested at Heathrow when they returned to the UK and she made no comment in interview, but it was clear from the evidence that she was solely responsible for these frauds.’
Saunders, from Camberwell in south London, admitted seven counts of fraud totalling £16,990, and was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years, with 200 hours of unpaid work.
However, Judge Stephen Gullick decided against jailing her after he was told that she had repaid the money and was retraining as a teacher.