She can’t stop nicking…and judges can’t stop letting her off

Dulwich

A serial conwoman who is addicted to stealing from her bosses has walked free again after stealing more than £7,000 from a financial services firm.

Gabriella Osborne, 33, lied about her criminal past to get a job as a PA with the firm Trade Risks.

She claimed she was of good character, when in reality she had a string of convictions for defrauding top City firms and had financed a lavish wedding with another swindle

Osborne pocketed £7,246.00 from the company between April and July this year by cooking up four false invoices with her bank details as payment.

She did not even bother to spend the money and kept it in her bank account.

At 13 weeks pregnant, Osborne escaped jail despite reoffending under a previous suspended sentence for fraud and was ordered to pay a £1,000 fine.

Judge Richard Hone QC said: ‘Breaching your suspended sentence should mean you have to go to jail.

‘You are highly intelligent but for some reason you seem to have an addiction stealing from your employers.’

‘It’s not in the public interest to send you to jail – although you are awfully close to it.’

Osborne, who also uses the last name Saunders, was first jailed for six months in 2007 by stealing over £34,000 from Pricewaterhouse Coopers by abusing the expenses system between
December 2005 and October 2006.

While working at the multi-national firm, Saunders forged taxi receipts to destinations across the country at up to £250 a time, then signed them off by faking a colleague’s signature.

She was handed a two-year suspended sentence from Southwark Crown Court in 2007 for 19 counts of fraud by false representation.

Osborne had been employed as a PA to a director of Cadbury Schweppes PLC and had used her boss’s credit card to pay for a number of bills, holidays and hotel stays.

She was given two years imprisonment from Inner London Crown Court in 2011 for nine counts of fraud by false representation.

Osborne used the details of friends and family to apply for credit cards, which she had sent to her home address.

She used the credit cards to book holidays in St Lucia and New York City and to pay for several cars.

In April last year, she was handed 15 months suspended for 24 months for seven counts of fraud by false representation for conning her bosses at Insight Investment out of £22,262.

Osborne, who claims she has a law degree from the University of Southampton, was earning £40,000-a-year in her role.

She used the cash to pay for her wedding at the plush Belair House in south London and her honeymoon in the Seychelles, the Old Bailey heard.

Her then-husband paid back the cash before she was sentenced.

Prosecutor John Traversi said: ‘On 26 July of this year, her then employers, a financial company called Trade Risks, became aware that she had a criminal record that they had not been made aware of when she was employed by them.

‘As a result of that she was challenged and an investigation was carried out to see if any fraud had been carried out by her during her employment at Trade Risks.

‘Four payments outside the payment of her salary were found to have been made from the Trade Risks account to her personal account.

‘These payments were then investigated in detail and the total of these payments was £7,246.00 effected by the creation of false invoices between April and July 2016.

‘She had worked there from 3 August 2015 as PA to the chief executive.’

Mr Traversi continued: ‘When police attended she had left the office and she didn’t attend a disciplinary meeting that was held, and understandably her contract of employment was terminated the following day.’

‘Between her arrest and being charged she paid back the money.’

‘She has a history of previous offending for stealing as an employee.’

The court heard Osborne has now separated from her husband, and is in the early stages of pregnancy with a child by her new partner.

Daniel Kersh, defending, said: ‘This defendant is 33 years of age, she’s presentable, intelligent, she’s able to hold down a variety of jobs in city companies.

‘This offending doesn’t fit into any sort of category, had she been an addict then the court could have considered some kind of rehabilitation order.

‘There’s something underlying this offending one can’t excuse the offending but there’s a psychological element.

He added: ‘For those previous convictions she had the funds to pay for the wedding, as did her husband.’

Mr Kersh said Osborne had been working as a teaching assistant since losing her job at Trade Risks, but had lost her job in the wake of publicity surrounding her case.

‘She started counselling, and it went someway but not nearly far enough towards dealing with her underlying issues, then her marriage fell apart.

‘She got the job at Trade Risks by lying she spent six months in that employment and at some point when her husband left her she began offending again.’

Osborne hadn’t even spent the £7,000 she stole, the court heard, and had instead just left it in her bank account and repaid it immediately when she was caught.

Osborne, of (69) Whateley Road, east Dulwich, was sentenced to two years suspended sentence, with a £1,000 fine.

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