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Ex-Blackburn College worker jailed for fraud
A FORMER Blackburn College worker has been sent to prison for spending more than £21,000 on a ‘lavish lifestyle’ funded by a works’ credit card.
Shaheda Lorgat, of Mossdale, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to 19 counts of fraud by abuse of position, which took place over a three year and eight month period while working as a purchasing officer at the college.
Among the items the 49-year-old spent the money on were a holiday to Florida, a trip to Alton Towers, solicitor’s bills for her divorce from her husband and builders’ costs.
The fraud came to light in February last year when a member of staff noticed discrepancies on the college’s credit card.
Preston Crown Court was told that Lorgat started fraudulently using the card when her husband left her after more than 20 years’ of domestic abuse.
Defending, Leila Ghahhary said: “When her husband left her, she felt a desperate need to pretend to the outside world that everything was okay.
“Her state of mind and emotional anxiety and the stress she was going through at the time lead her behave in a way that projected something totally different, hence the spending.”
Recorder Robert Crawford sentenced her to 12 months imprisonment. He told Lorgat yesterday: “All these things you did with public money that should have been spent on an educational institution.”
Rachel Curry, director of resources at Blackburn College, said: “The college is satisfied with the outcome of the legal proceedings against a former colleague who was dismissed from our employment over 18 months ago.” A statement from Lorgat’s ex-husband Mr Mohammed Lorgat sent to the Lancashire Telegraph said: “Ms Esat, aka Lorgat, has no connection with the Lorgat family and committed the fraud by spending on lavish lifestyle and luxuries. She carried out these activities after we separated and divorced and I have had no contact with her.”