A SERIAL fraudster who siphoned £100,000 from a recruitment company’s coffers is back behind bars, after admitting stealing from her employer – the same offence she was previously jailed for.

Juliette Harding, 52, of Norris Road, Hilperton, was sentenced to five years and 10 months in jail at Bristol Crown Court for taking £100,000 from Radstock-based TAG Recruitment – right underneath her colleagues’ noses.

The payroll clerk paid herself the money with fraudulent invoices, claiming it had been paid to employees using the service. She left the company in December 2015 after going on holiday to Thailand with her husband, using money she had obtained illegally.

Staff at the small company began to smell a rat after Harding’s lavish holiday and looked back through paperwork to discover they had been a victim of a vast crime.

Employee Rose Plucknett, whose husband Darren owns the company, said: “I noticed something was wrong with our accounts in September 2015 and started digging around.

“We had more money going out than we had coming in each week, so I kept asking Juliette why that was and stupidly took her word for it as gospel each time she explained why. She seemed so trustworthy.

“I called the umbrella company that deals with our payments and they told me one of the names of a man who was supposedly being paid, so I called him but he said he hadn’t been paid for seven months.

“The scale of what she had done then began to unravel and we called the police, who did a fantastic job in bringing her to justice.”

Harding started working at TAG Recruitment in August 2012, shortly after being released from prison having served a two-year sentence for using her position as payroll head at Swindon College to siphon money into her account by pretending to pay casual staff or former employees.

In 2010 prosecutor Colin Meeke had told Swindon Crown Court that when she applied for the job at Swindon College in November 2007 she failed to mention a conviction for benefit fraud from 1998.

He said that she began to divert money into her own account almost as soon as she started working there, taking a total of £22,818. Almost a year after she started, when a full Criminal Records Bureau report revealed her past, she resigned with a £7,000 pay off.

Within weeks Harding started work at Barnes Group on the Leafield Trading Estate in Corsham. In the following months she ran a similar scam where she got away with £3,980. She was jailed for two years after admitting four counts of fraud.

Speaking after Harding was jailed again on May 19, after she changed her not guilty plea to fraud by abuse of position at the last minute to admit her guilt, Mrs Plucknett said Harding was a ‘very clever’ fraudster, whose crime had a very negative impact on staff at the company and the company itself.

“We were utterly devastated, she’s completely destroyed the business and we’re now having to try and build back up from scratch,” she added.

“I don’t think the sentence is long enough, her deceitful actions placed us under so much financial and emotional strain."