A WOMAN who stole over £67,000 of public money from a council-run training project has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Leanne Hooks (25), formerly of Little Carter Lane, Mansfield, fraudulently cashed cheques by forging a colleague’s signature while working at Skills for Employment in Sutton.
She admitted stealing a total of £67,190 while working as an admin officer at the company between April 2008 and June 2010.
The project is run by Nottinghamshire County Council and provides training and support to young people looking for work.
Hooks used the cash for home improvements and to buy a new car.
Her criminal behaviour came to light after colleagues noticed irregularities in the company’s petty cash account.
Following an in-depth inquiry by Nottinghamshire Police, Hooks was arrested and pleaded guilty to theft and three counts of converting criminal property.
She was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday.
Pc Andrew Doran, who led the investigation, said: “Hooks drained the project of a significant amount of money in the years she worked there in order to renovate her house and to buy a sports car.
“This was a callous use of public money and the sentence handed out to Hooks reflects the seriousness of her crimes.”