PPI claims companies offer a valued service. However, there are some companies that give the industry a bad name. A senior manager of a PPI claims firm in Wigan was recently convicted and jailed for stealing funds that should have been paid to clients.
Louise Hitchen was a 27-year old manager of the claims company that she worked for. She recently confessed to stealing funds from customer accounts over the course of four months. Prosecutors stated that the total cost of the fraud was £93,250.56.
Hitchen has accepted a plea bargain on two counts of fraud. She has agreed to serve one year in prison for her crimes.
Hitchen unexpectedly stopped showing up for work a couple of years ago. She eventually gave her resignation, which was a huge surprise to her employer.
Hitchen’s employer wasn’t aware of the fraud while she was working with them. A customer inquired about the whereabouts of their PPI compensation after she resigned from the firm.
The company immediately conducted an investigation. They discovered that Hitchen had diverted money from over a dozen customers to her own personal bank account. They found that she used the money to pay for drugs, alcohol, breast augmentation and a new sports car.
Hitchen returned the car and about a fifth of the money that she stole. However, that has done little offset the losses that the victims have sustained. The company has been forced to pay the cost of their claims out of its own pocket.
The fraud has had a serious impact on many people. Many customers said that they were counting on their PPI refunds to pay for important bills.
Hitchen’s theft has also adversely affected many of her former colleagues. The claims company has been forced to lay a number of them off to cover the losses of the fraud.
Detective Mark Edwards of the Greater Manchester Police was one of the lead investigators in the case. He said that Hitchen was extremely selfish when she stole the money from these accounts. He said that her behavior was also very reckless as she went on her spending spree.
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