Union officials jailed for £100,000 theft from UNISON
A 56-YEAR-OLD Cheltenham mother and union official led a group who stole £100,000 from Unison.
Former Gloucestershire Unison branch secretary Karen Boyle, of Helens Close, Hester's Way, was jailed for 12 months for her "despicable" and "manipulative" actions as ringleader of the fraud.
Along with members of her own family and a fellow union official, she took the cash between 2006 and 2009 and spent it on items including champagne, children's clothing, holiday and honeymoon taxi rides to the airport, vehicle repairs and even Easter eggs.
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Boyle benefited to the tune of £40,000.
She appointed her husband Patrick, 62, to help.
He was sentenced to a three-month jail sentence suspended for two years, with an 8pm to 6am curfew. He was also banned from entering a pub for two years.
Their daughter Michelle Oakey, 37, who was sent down for four months, made £15,000 out of the scam.
She and her husband Matthew Oakey, 33, used Unison money to pay for their wedding and honeymoon.
Return taxi trips to Birmingham airport from their home in Richmond Gardens, Longlevens, totalled £450.
Matthew Oakey, the former branch administrator, only escaped jail to care for their children.
Instead, he was sentenced to six months suspended for two years.
He was also sentenced to 240 hours of community service and a six-month curfew.
Karen Boyle's deputy Karen Marlow, of Rodney Close, Longlevens, took £15,000 from the branch by falsifying expense claims and being paid for work she did not do.
She was jailed for six months.
All five were sacked by Unison, which called the police when its checks revealed the scale of the thefts.
All five admitted conspiracy to steal, three days in to an expected 11-week trial.
Detective Inspector Ian Ginn, who led the investigation, said: "Unison has been fully supportive of our investigation and helpful throughout and we'd like to thank its for its assistance."
A Unison spokesman said: "These individuals were responsible for a gross betrayal of our members and of the values of this union and we welcome the severity of the sentences."