Dishonest E.on employee took over £20,000 in customer refund cash
A CUSTOMER services worker at energy firm E.on helped himself to £21,000 from business accounts.
Wayne Padgett was £30,000 in debt – but with the extra cash he took from E.on he could afford to splash out.
He visited the Canary island of Fuerteventura, enjoying a seven-night break for £1,200, and spent £1,800 on a car, plus £600 insuring it.
He also bought hundreds of pounds of electrical goods from Argos, items from Ikea, the Pet Store and from clothes shops.
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At work, Padgett was supposed to be sorting large refunds for some commercial customers.
But instead he helped himself to the cash. He was employed at the company by an agency and failed to inform anyone he had a previous conviction for stealing thousands of pounds from an employer in 2006.
Nottingham Crown Court heard that by the time he was employed at E.on, his debts were approaching £30,000.
He was allowed to authorise direct debits to customers' accounts for large amounts with the permission of a team manager.
But Padgett, 30, of Minerva Street, Bulwell, went to different managers for authorisation, as he took large amounts between September 11 and October 11 last year.
"He would log into customers' accounts and basically change the details of who would collect the refund from the account to his own account," explained Edie Leonard, prosecuting.
"It initially came to light because one customer called asking where his refund was as he hadn't received it."
After Padgett's arrest at work on October 30, he pleaded guilty to fraud at court and, yesterday, was jailed for ten months. The total amount taken was £20,902.54.
Judge Andrew Hamilton said: "It seems to me this was a sophisticated fraud. By going to different managers, he's worked out a system to avoid being caught."
Steven Ramsell said, in mitigation, that Padgett had the good sense to admit what he had done. "He has a background as a hard-working young man," he said.
"He became an area manager for Blockbuster Entertainment. In 2002, he was involved in a very serious accident, which made him unable to work, and it became impossible to support himself on sick pay and his debt accrued.
"There was a real inevitability he was going to get caught for these offences.
Once he discovered how simple it was to do, of course the temptation to do it again was all the greater.
"For the first time in ten years, he had money in his pocket that could be spent. All of this for Wayne Padgett was a ticking time bomb."
Proceedings are under way to determine how much Padgett will have to repay. A hearing will be in the week of April 29.