Elderly woman, 67, jailed for 20 months over ‘intricate’ €50,000 Gibraltar embezzlement scheme

A 67-year-old woman has been handed a stint in the slammer after being convicted of syphoning off company funds through her role as an accountant.

Wendy Simpson spent eight months fraudulently transferring a total of €50,000 in cash to her personal bank accounts in the UK.

Between August 2022 and April 2023 Simpson systematically snaffled up client funds to splurge on ‘frivolous needs such as clothes and a holiday.’

The unassuming bean counter had been looking at a maximum sentence of four years for the ‘premeditated and intricately planned’ operation.

It meant she would have entered her eighth decade in a prison on the Rock.

However, she pleaded guilty to the crimes having ‘accepted responsibility for everything’ and was sentenced to 20 months in prison.

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The pensioner has already served seven months behind bars since her arrest in July, and so has a little over a year left to run on her term.

Simpson exploited her position as an in-house accountant at management services provider Capital Growth Limited to make 67 unauthorised transactions, 54 of which went directly to her own bank accounts.

She then cooked the books, providing ‘incorrect and misleading’ account information to the directors of three client firms to cover her tracks.

One director of a defrauded company only referred to his ‘disappointment and sadness’ in a victim impact statement to the court.

Defence lawyer Sean Gaskin pointed out to the court that Simpson had no prior convictions and suffered from ‘health issues.’

He added that her actions represented ‘a severe lapse of judgement which stemmed from a fear of loss of employment and financial hardship.’

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Simpson was arrested in July alongside her husband Peter West, 68, who was also charged with embezzlement and money laundering.

But the bonds of marriage did not survive fraud charges from the Supreme Court of Gibraltar, and West quickly absconded from the peninsula. 

A Royal Gibraltar Police spokesman told the Olive Press: “He was reported for process for a money laundering offence at the same time as Wendy Simpson. 

“However, he failed to turn up in court and we believe he returned to the UK. A warrant for his arrest was issued – meaning if he returns to Gibraltar he will be arrested.”

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