Model spared jail over fraud

A MODEL who helped fraudsters steal �25,000 from a bank in a bid to pay off part of her student loan was spared jail on Friday.

Undergraduate Elsa Lopes, 22, was working part-time for NatWest when she photographed security information and account details of clients which she handed over to the fraudsters.

Lopes, who harboured dreams of becoming the next Oprah Winfrey, told police she was recruited by a uni friend and was paid �400 for the details.

Her barrister Avirup Chaudhuri said that Lopes was heavily indebted at the time of the fraud due to car fines and her student loan.

She has since sold her car but she is still owed on her student loans.

Her crime was not a question of wanting to sustain a luxury lifestyle, he said.

Lopes, described on a website for black afros as a “positive role model”, was born in Angola and brought up by a “law abiding, high achieving and God-fearing family,” said Mr Chaudhuri. She will have caused incalculable damage to her job prospects, he added.

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At the Old Bailey Lopes, of Murray Square, Custom House admitted two counts of fraud.She was sentenced to ten months imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered to pay back the �400.

Judge Timothy Pontius said she was put in a position of trust which she abused.

“Every employer is entitled to expect loyalty and honesty from employees,” he added.