An examinations officer at Aston University, who falsely claimed over £13,000 for invigilation work that was never done has escaped a jail sentence.
Cara Hawley made bogus claims in respect of her mother and former boyfriend, Birmingham Crown Court heard.
Judge Melbourne Inman QC said: “You were employed for seven years at Aston University and rose to a position of trust as an examinations officer which involved responsibility for the provision of invigilators.
“Between December 2009 and June last year you dishonestly claimed on behalf of your mother an inflated amount and an invented sum in relation to your boyfriend.”
He said it amounted to £13,590 and went on “that obviously is a significant sum of money you stole from a position of trust.”
However he said: “You are of very good character but it is also clear you did admit what you had done as soon as it became clear to your employer what had happened.”
Judge Inman sentenced Hawley, aged 27, of Stone Road, Edgbaston, who admitted two charges of fraud, to a 12-month community order and ordered her to do 150 hours unpaid work.
John Bartlett, prosecuting, said Hawley had been employed in various roles at the university and that for seven months she had worked as an examinations officer looking after those who invigilated in exams, a job which involved “substantial responsibility.”
He said it involved passing paper work to her superiors for payment.
“One of the invigilators was the defendant’s mother. She did some work for the university but not as much as the defendant claimed.
“Claims were made for the defendant’s then boyfriend. There is no evidence he did any work at all for the university,” he said.
There came a time, said Mr Bartlett, when figures and budgets were looked at within the university and it was realised something was not quite right.
“An inquiry was stated and the defendant was asked to account for the figures that had gone in.”
Mr Bartlett said Hawley, who earned a wage of about £29,000 then admitted what she had done at a meeting at the university.
Two sums of money had subsequently been repaid to the university by the defendant’s mother.
Brenda Campbell, defending, said Hawley, who had been held in high esteem, had been “utterly devastated” by her own actions.
Hawley then found herself in financial difficulties and the money she falsely claimed was not spent on a lavish lifestyle but in paying off increasing debts.
Miss Campbell said Hawley had resigned from the university last June but had got herself another job at another university.