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Galleries managers plead guilty to fraud

SCAM ...  Juliet Coard and Michael Lawson used to be bosses at Washingtons The Galleries shopping centre, below.

SCAM ... Juliet Coard and Michael Lawson used to be bosses at Washingtons The Galleries shopping centre, below.

TWO former shopping centre bosses who orchestrated a scam worth thousands of pounds have pleaded guilty to fraud.

Juliet Amanda Coard and Michael Lawson, who were both managers at the Galleries in Washington, have admitted fraud by abuse of position.

The pair were behind a false contract crime which could be worth £208,000 between October 2008 and July 2010 in which they awarded a maintenance contract at the centre to a company called Turfcraft, which they set up.

The pair were arrested following a three-year police investigation.

Coard, 49, of Front Street, Ireshopeburn, County Durham, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday where they admitted the offence.

Her step-sibling Lawson, 37, of West Street, Grange Villa, who did not have to attend, also accepted the charge.

The amount of money that the defendants made out of the scam is unclear, the court heard.

Judge John Milford said: “Hopefully it can be resolved between now and the date of sentence.”

Coard and Lawson, who no longer work at the Galleries, will appear at Newcastle Crown Court for sentencing during the week of May 12.

They were both released on bail until then.

 
 
 

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