St Leonards fraudster defrauded estate agents out of thousands

Kelly Hodd. Picture courtesy of Sussex Police
Kelly Hodd. Picture courtesy of Sussex Police

A fraudster from St Leonards was a ‘convincing liar’ before helping herself to her victim’s money, investigating officers said today (Monday, August 8) following her sentencing.

Kelly Jane Hodd, 28, unemployed, from Martingale Close, was jailed for four months on Thursday (August 4) following a hearing at Hove Crown Court after defrauding the estate agents where she worked.

She pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to three counts of fraud by abuse of position by defrauding her former employer of thousands of pounds over a four-month period in 2015.

Sussex Police said Hodd got the job with a firm of local estate agents after falsely claiming she had held high-powered positions with American Express, before proceeding to write company cheques to her mother, as well as to a private school, without her employer’s permission.

In all, she took a total of £4,720 from the firm by means of cheques, for her own gain by using deceit which included falsely involving her own family.

Hodd, who has previous convictions for fraud offences, initially told police the money had been a loan, but after a lengthy and thorough police investigation, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) authorised charges.

She eventually changed her plea to guilty just a week before the trial was due to start.

A spokesman for the CPS said the offences all related to Hodd’s position as an administrator at JMA Associates.

For each fraud charge, a cheque was written to L Hodd and the three amounts were £720 (January 15, 2015), £2,600 (March 20, 2015) and £1,400 (February 28, 2015), the CPS spokesman added.

PC Tess Warren, of the Hastings Investigations Team, said: “Hodd was a convincing liar who earned her victim’s trust before helping herself to her money.

“The victim in the case, who runs a small firm, feels this was a huge breach of trust and it made her question her own personal and professional relationships to a distressing degree.

“This case was never about the money for the victim; for her it was about the trust she had placed in Hodd being abused to such a degree.”

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