Romance scam legal worker who stole from Blackpool employer ordered to pay back her ill gotten gains
A besotted mum who stole more than Â£500,000 from a Fylde law firm after falling victim to an online 'romance scam' must pay back Â£129,589, a court has ruled.
Infatuated Pamela Wareing, the former head cashier and the compliance officer for finance and administration at Blackpool law firm Easthams, stole the cash from a client account at Easthams on Church Street and transferred it into a bank in Dubai.
The 54-year-old, of Brompton Road, Poulton, believed she was sending the money to an American serviceman, calling himself Eric Lopez, who had promised to set up home with her and marry her, and made £526,473 in cash transactions over a 46-day period.
It turned out the man never existed and she had been sending the money to scammers.
The mother-of-one admitted theft from the Blackpool-based firm, where she had worked for more than 20 years, and was jailed for two years and eight months last year.
During a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing, the Honorary Recorder of Preston, Judge Mark Brown, heard a financial probe found she had benefitted by a total of £526,473 - but only has £129,589 of assets available for the courts to seize.
He ordered her to pay the amount within three months or she will face a further two years in prison in default.
Between November 4 and December 19 2016, Wareing had made 13 transactions of £267,000 from the firm’s client account into her own and 13 transfers totalling £260,000 from its office account.
She attempted to cover up her actions by making false postings in relation to a probate matter.