Three UNISON union officials jailed for plot to steal £100,000
THREE union officials who plotted to steal £100,000 from UNISON have been jailed for a total of 22 months.
Today, at Bristol Crown Court, former Gloucestershire UNISON branch secretary Kathleen Boyle (also known as Karen), 56, of Helens Close in Cheltenham, was told her "despicable" and "manipulative" actions as the ringleader of the fraud could only be punished by 12 months in prison.
She benefited to the tune of £40,000.
Her second-in-command 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.
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Boyle's daughter Michelle, 37, a mum of three of Richmond Gardens in Longlevens, got £15,000 through jobs she was given by her mum but which the court was told she was ill-suited to. She also falsified expense claims and was jailed for four months.
Her husband Matthew Oakey, 33, also of Richmond Gardens, only escaped jail because he must care for their children. His involvement was described by Judge Lambert as "manipulated" and "cunning". A six month jail sentence suspended for two years, he will do 240 hours of community service and serve a nightly curfew for six month.
Boyles husband Patrick, 62, of Helens Close in Cheltenham, received a three month jail sentence suspended for two years. The court heard he was appointed by his wife to draw up a development plan which judge lambert described as "jibberish" and his role added little or nothing to the union.
The court heard how Kathleen Boyle's scam ran for several months and defrauded UNISON members of £100,000.
All five pleaded guilty to stealing from the union.
Detective Inspector Ian Ginn, who led the investigation, said: "We're pleased with the result of what was a protracted and detailed investigation and that justice has been done for Unison's members who give their subscription fees each month for support and guidance on work-related issues.
"Unison have been fully supportive of our investigation and helpful throughout and we'd like to thank them for their assistance, which has helped us bring these offenders to justice.
"We will be looking towards a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act to try and recover their ill-gotten gains, which will begin in March next year."
For more, see TiG, The Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo tomorrow.