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Financial adviser is jailed for 16 months

A CROOKED financial adviser who stole more than £158,000 from clients in a desperate attempt to save her business has been jailed for 16 months.

Angela Lauder, 43, who worked for the Bank Of Scotland for 11 years before setting up her own business almost a decade ago, stole the cash over a two-year period.

The first offender was acting for a husband and wife when she repeatedly pretended to Friends Provident they had signed documents authorising the withdrawal of sums from their investment fund, which were then paid into her own account.

She had invested about £700,000 of the couple's money, but the fraud was discovered after they decided to switch to a different financial adviser.

Married Lauder pleaded guilty to obtaining a total of £158,666 by fraud from Friends Provident between May 2008 and October 2010 at an office in Selkirk, where she also lives.

Defence lawyer Mat Patrick told Selkirk Sheriff Court: "Her business was struggling at the time. She thought she could repay the money but it went on again and again and it got out of control. She always thought she could get on top of it but in the end she couldn't.

"She was full of remorse and co-operated fully with the police when the fraud was discovered."

Sheriff Peter Paterson said: "This couple trusted you to look after their money. There was a significant element of breach of trust."

He said he would have imposed a two-year prison sentence but reduced it to 16 months to take into account the guilty plea and co-operation with the police.

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