Prep school manager avoids jail after taking £5,000 from parents and colleagues (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Farah Qureshi took thousands of pounds while working at Winston House Preparatory School in 2011
A kindergarten manager who fraudulently pocketed thousands of pounds paid by parents and colleagues was spared jail yesterday.
Farah Qureshi, 46, helped herself to school fees totalling nearly £5,000 paid by eight parents in 2011 while working at Winston House Preparatory School, in Woodford Green High Road.
Qureshi, of Mountfield Road, East Ham, also took £850 from colleagues, telling them it was for training courses.
The judge said she only avoided jail as she is the sole carer for her 13-year-old daughter.
Qureshi had initially denied the charges at Snaresbrook Crown Court, but on the first day of her trial in June she admitted taking the money.
She then pleaded not guilty after taking legal advice and applied to have her guilty pleas vacated.
She said she had been undergoing chemotherapy and was not thinking straight when she pleaded guilty.
The judge, Mr Recorder Ali Malek QC, told her: “Your pleas have been tactical from the outset.
“A custodial sentence is necessary for the level of dishonesty but I accept you are the sole carer of your daughter so I am prepared to suspend the sentence.”
She was given an 18 month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and 120 hours of community service.
She was not ordered to pay compensation to any victim.
Individual parents had handed over sums between £325 and £960, with one handing over cash on three separate occasions.
Prosecutor Catherine Farrelly had told the court that soon after being promoted to kindergarten manager in June 2011 Qureshi had started enacting a number of frauds upon the school.
“She did all this during her employment and took a total of £5547 she was not entitled to,” Ms Farrelly said.
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