A FORMER employee of Scottish Equitable has been ordered to repay more than £30,000 after being found guilty of defrauding the insurer.

Thomas Berwick, a former employee of Scottish Equitable, escaped criminal conviction last year when his not guilty plea to a charge of fraud was accepted by the Crown.

But in a judgment yesterday, a judge ruled that Berwick had used his position as a company clerk to defraud £33,119. He took the money from unclaimed life assurance policies and transferred it to his brother's lover, Allan Broadley.

The fraud was not noticed until a policyholder made a claim and did not receive the payout. When company records showed £23,000 had already been paid out, an internal investigation was launched.

An internal audit revealed that the money had gone to Broadley. Berwick had rigged cheques, making them payable to Broadley, and then forged another colleague's initials on a verification form.