A COLLEGE worker who spent more than £21,000 on a work credit card on holidays, shopping and a trip to Alton Towers has been warned she faces jail.
Shaheda Lorgat, a purchasing officer at Blackburn College, used the card which was meant to buy equipment for students requiring special help.
Preston Crown Court heard how the 42-year-old racked up a catalogue of expenses over a period of more than three years.
Judge Jeremy Baker told her: “Fraudulence in a position of trust carried on over a period of years and obtaining a benefit of more than £20,000 of public money is likely to attract a prison sentence.
“Whether it will or not remains for the judge on the day to decide.”
Lorgat was suspended from her role at the Fielden Street college after an internal audit uncovered ‘financial discrepancies’.
An investigation was launched and the case was handed over to the police.
Among the personal items Lorgat paid for on the college account were:
• A total of £9,031 worth of personal travel costs • Solicitors bills totalling £2,464 • A total of £8,473 worth of tradesmen’s costs Other items included £465 worth of servics at Alton Towers, £315 worth of personal holiday costs, a supermarket bill of £202, goods worth £245 for personal use and prescription sunglasses worth £153.
She pleaded guilty to 19 charges of fraudulent abuse of her position.
Judge Baker adjourned the sentence until September 9 to allow for the preparation of a pre-sentence report as well as a medical report.
Defending, Leila Ghahhary said: “There is a long-standing history of domestic abuse and from that, mental health problems from which the defendant suffers.”
The defendant was given unconditional bail until her next appearance at the crown court.
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 16 months ago, following an investigation initially triggered by minor financial discrepancies.
"As one of the largest and most financially stable further education colleges in the UK, whilst the situation was unfortunate and regrettable there was no impact on the education and training of our learners.”
A police spokesman said: “Shaheda Lorgat was in a position of trust and used the credit card for her own financial gain.
“The card was meant to be used to buy equipment for pupils with certain requirements, but instead she used it to buy herself things.”
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