City company director pays the price after failing to pay employees nearly £15,000 in wages
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A London woman has been jailed after failing to pay four of her employees and then forging documents in an attempt to claim that she had.
Nicole Arbeid, 60, of High Street, Hornsey, London, was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Friday 23 July 2021 to 44 months in prison for four counts of fraud by abuse of position and one count of making/supplying articles for use in fraud.
The case first came to the attention of the City of London Police when Arbeid falsely reported to the police that one of her employees was harassing her. In reality, the employee was merely asking for the salary she was owed. After interviewing the employee and reviewing the evidence, it was established that it was in fact Arbeid who had committed various offences.
Detective Constable Helen Shipston, from the City of London Police’s Public Protection Unit (PPU), said:
“The lengths Arbeid went to in an attempt to cover up her dishonesty were farcical. Rather than taking responsibility for her failings as an employer, Arbeid dug herself deeper and deeper into a hole of lies. She even brought her crimes to the attention of the police by pretending that one of her employees had been harassing her.
“Employers have a duty to their employees to uphold the terms of their contract, particularly when it comes to paying staff. The jail term Arbeid has received proves that crime really does not pay.”
Arbeid reported one of her employees to the police in September 2018, claiming that she had been harassing her over the phone and via email because she had not received her salary. During an interview, the employee provided various pieces of evidence, including bank statements and a letter from her bank confirming that the payments had not been credited to her account.
Arbeid supplied the investigating officer with several pieces of ‘evidence’ intended to discredit the employee’s allegations, including a bank statement purporting that the salary payments had been made.
Three other employees came forward saying that they had experienced the same issues whilst working for Arbeid, all having not been paid for their time at the company. In total, the four employees were owed nearly £15,000 in wages.
The bank accounts Arbeid claimed to have paid employees from were examined by the bank on the request of the investigating officer, which revealed that no money had passed through these accounts.
Officers examined Arbeid’s laptop, discovering that the bank statements she had provided as proof of payment to her employees had been forged. The fraudulent nature of the documents was further supported by a number of errors on the statement in regards to the lettering, gaps in words and extra numbers.
After gathering this overwhelming evidence, officers interviewed Arbeid, who maintained that the bank statements were real. However, she later admitted to not paying the employees.