A Communisis executive assistant who fraudulently used a company credit card to fund a £250,000 spending spree has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.
Jean Tugwete was sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday (26 February) to three years and six months’ imprisonment, having previously pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and false accounting.
Between April 2012 and February 2015 Tugwete defrauded Communisis out of £264,274 to buy herself items ranging from flights to a fridge-freezer.
She was employed as an executive assistant serving Communisis executives at the firm’s London-based headquarters. PrintWeek understands she was chief executive Andy Blundell's personal assistant.
During that time Tugwete amended company statements to hide her own spending and disguised the transactions as business expenses, such as hotel stays, train fares and conference facilities.
She altered statements before scanning them back in and sending them to the company’s finance department for processing.
In February 2015 colleagues became suspicious that Tugwete was submitting false invoices. They requested original statements from the credit card company that revealed discrepancies totalling £264,000.
Communisis contacted officers from the City of London Police to report the fraud and detectives who investigated discovered Tugwete falsified company credit card statements to hide her spending on items including flights, televisions, tablets, a washing machine and a fridge freezer.
Tugwete had spent almost £16,000 at House of Fraser, bought a Peugeot 307 cabriolet for £9,000, spent £17,000 at Costco and purchased a £4,500 corner sofa from DFS - all at the expense of Communisis.
Tugwete was arrested on 11 February 2015 at Heathrow airport, as she returned from a family trip to Kenya.
She answered "no comment" to all questions put to her by detectives but after further enquiries she was charged on 14 October and was subsequently sentenced.
City of London Police Fraud Squad detective sergeant Simon Russen said: “Tugwete completely abused her position of trust within the company for her personal gain. She thought that she could get away with stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds, but she was caught and now she faces a lengthy time behind bars for what she has done."
In a statement, a Communisis spokesperson said: “We can confirm that a former Communisis employee has been sentenced in connection with fraudulent activity.
“Evidence of this activity was first detected by the company, investigated swiftly, and details passed promptly to the police, culminating in the sentencing decision.”