Accounts manager changed cheques to steal £38540 from employer

A hard-up accounts manager swindled ?38,540 from the tyre company Michelin[1] by diverting discount payments from customers into her own account. Lorraine Pethick devised the fraud because she had been left thousands of pounds in debt after taking out loans to support her parents at a time when her father was terminally ill. Her job involved arranging cash-back style repayments to haulage firms who bought truck tyres on a discount scheme.

She changed the name on the cheques and paid them into a bank account which she controlled, Exeter Crown Court was told. Pethick, aged 34, of The Square, Rockbeare, admitted fraud and was jailed for 15 months, suspended for two years and ordered to do 120 hours unpaid community work by Judge Graham Cottle. He told her: “You abused your position as an accounts manager over a three-and-a-half year period to make 46 payments to an account which you controlled.

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“You have expressed genuine remorse and never sought to blame anyone else.

You accept it was all down to you and you showed particularly poor judgment. “Your financial situation at the time has been described as being pretty desperate. Your father had been ill and hospitalised for some time and there were serious financial consequences.

“You helped by taking out loans which you could not afford to repay and when the situation became desperate you started to steal from your employers to try to keep the ship afloat.

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“You want to pay the money back but I don’t know whether that is a realistic proposition.” The judge set a timetable for an investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act which may result in Pethick being forced to repay the money. Herc Ashworth, prosecuting, said Pethick started stealing the money in 2012 and carried on doing so until she left to go to another job in 2015.

The fraud was uncovered in late 2016 when a customer who was due a post purchase discount repayment complained their company had not received it. An inquiry found the name of the payee had been altered and it had been paid to Pethick.

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In total there were 46 fraudulent transactions over three-and-a-half years totalling ?38,540. Brian Fitzherbert, defending, said Pethick now has a ?40,000 job as an account manager with a publishing company and hopes to reduce her outgoings so she can repay the money.

He said she got into debt by helping her family and still owes ?10,500 on credit cards or to payday loan companies and repayments absorb almost half her current earnings.

He said Pethick comes from Wales and studied at Newport University before working for T Mobile[2] and moving on to Michelin[3].

References

  1. ^ Michelin (www.michelin.co.uk)
  2. ^ T Mobile (ee.co.uk)
  3. ^ Michelin (www.michelin.co.uk)

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