A TAX officer has been jailed - for stealing from her bosses at the Inland Revenue.
Margaret Scargill was given a six-month sentence after a court heard how she stole more than £10,000 over five years while working as a manager at the Huddersfield and Dewsbury tax offices.
And she transferred the cash to her two sisters and a niece - one of whom is a police officer.
Her relatives knew nothing about the deception.
Scargill, 52, of Tinsel Road, Dewsbury, was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court yesterday. She had joined the Inland Revenue in 1970 and rose to a senior position at its Dewsbury office. In 2003, she moved to Huddersfield and promoted to local service manager.
Between July, 1998, and July, 2003, Mrs Scargill paid a total of £10,219 to her elder sister Pauline Garland, from Stevenage, her younger sister Catherine Squires - a police officer with West Yorkshire Police from Cleckheaton - and her niece Katie Squires, 22, also from Cleckheaton.
Twenty-six payments were made via the Inland Revenue's Pay As You Earn and Self-Assessment tax credit systems.
The court heard Scargill used colleagues' computer accounts to input false details and she occasionally asked other employees to input details for her.
Pauline Garland received £2,963 in tax credits - despite being unemployed until 2003. Scargill created false employment and tax details for her sister and paid out PAYE and Self-Assessment tax credits.
Mrs Garland got a job working for Royal Mail in 2003, so Mrs Scargill sent them a false P45 and other documents.
Catherine Squires received a total of £3,490.
She was employed, so Mrs Scargill simply altered details on the system to give her sister extra tax credits.
Mrs Squires' daughter Katie was a student when she received over £3,000 - but her aunt created a false employment record.
Scargill - who received no financial benefit from the fraud - said her relatives knew nothing about the deception.
Scargill was sacked from her £28,000-a-year post and has lost most of her pension. She has used her life savings to pay the money back.
Her barrister, Katherine Goddard, said the reason why Scargill committed the offences was unclear. But psychiatric reports suggested she had been depressed and wanted to be a mother figure following her mother's death and her brother falling ill.