Norbury shop assistant Leestashia Campbell jailed for £25k fraudulent refunds
A sales assistant who stole more than £25,000 from her employers to fund her cannabis addiction has been jailed for 16 months.
Leestashia Campbell who worked at the Banana Republic flagship store in Regent Street, asked two friends to buy clothes at heavily discounted prices.
The 25-year-olds friends then returned the clothes, which she refunded at the full price to their credit cards.
Campbell, of Acacia Road, Norbury, carried out the scam six times between October 2011 and February 2012, stealing £25,778 from the clothing store.
Southwark Crown Court heard Campbell recruited her first accomplice, known as Rachel, at a local hairdressers and the pair targeted the shop three times.
But when Rachel stopped helping, Campbell roped in another friend from college who continued with the thefts.
Campbell was caught out when colleagues queried a suspicious refund of £1,300 on February 8. CCTV footage showed she issued the repayment and subsequent checks revealed previous suspicious transactions, including one for more than £10,000.
Prosecutor Peter Zinner said Campbell, who worked 20 hours a week earning around £500 a month, was "surprised when it was put to her the amount accumulated."
Campbell, who was hired by Banana Republic in 2008, had to take two months off in 2009 after a serious car accident.
When interviewed by police she confessed that much of her cut from the money stolen was blown on her cannabis addiction.
Her barrister Tamia Tagon said she suffered from chronic asthma and had been diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Describing her as "a fragile and vulnerable young woman," Ms Tagon said Campbell is the main carer for her mother, who has been diagnosed with lung disease and was stealing to try to help her family financially.
Jailing Campbell for 16 months, Judge Nicholas Loraine- Smith said: "It is not just a question of you stealing from your employers, breaching the trust they put in you, but you involved- no doubt willingly- two friends of yours.
"You came up with the idea of doing refunds back to credit cards, as you had been a Banana Republic for a couple of years and you thought you could pull it off.
"You were the insider."