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Woman jailed for conspiring to defraud Newham Council of £300,000

Kerry Butler and Peter Nicholson celebrating at his 50th birthday party. Kerry Butler and Peter Nicholson celebrating at his 50th birthday party.

Monday, January 14, 2013
2:43 PM

A woman was jailed for two years on Friday for conspiring to defraud Newham Council of almost £300,000.

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Kerry Butler, 47, of Bexleyheath, was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the council of £80,000 at Snaresbrook Crown Court after she helped Peter Nicholson, a former Youth Offending Team chief, create ‘ghost’ temporary agency staff through her recruitment company.

Nicholson, 58, pocketed the wages and even arranged a 10-day break for family and friends in Canada worth £4,000.

He was jailed for five and a half years in July for five charges of conspiracy to defraud a total of £281,771.90.

Butler was originally tried with Nicholson but a hung jury led to a retrial.

A Newham Council spokesperson said: “Butler systematically abused her in-depth knowledge of the system. We worked with her in good faith and she abused that trust.

“Newham Council has a zero-tolerance approach to fraudulent use of taxpayers’ money. It cannot - and will not - be tolerated under any circumstances.

“The Council constantly reviews its procedures in line with its best practice approach and we will do everything we can to ensure this episode goes unrepeated. We routinely conduct internal audits to ensure council taxpayers’ money is being spent properly.”

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