Shropshire woman stole from employer to pay for expensive holidays

A Shropshire woman who stole from a former employer to pay for expensive holidays must repay almost £100,000 in ill-gotten gains.

Worcester Crown Court. Photo: Google Maps
Worcester Crown Court. Photo: Google Maps

Amanda Clarke, of Cleobury Mortimer, stole the money from Rowan Steels Ltd where she had been employed as accounts manager for eight years before she left suddenly in January 2019.

Now she has been ordered by a judge to repay more than £94,000 to the Kidderminster business following a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

As part of her role the 56-year-old had access to the company's accounts and handled invoices, wages and payment of goods.

After she left the owner spotted irregularities including money being transferred from the company bank accounts to Clarke's personal accounts.

Clarke had set up supplier payment records using the names of known suppliers to the business using her own personal bank accounts. Transactions shown on the Rowan Steels bank account indicate payments to the suppliers, but the funds actually went to accounts held by Clarke.

In August 2019 Clarke attended a voluntary interview at Ludlow Police Station and admitted taking the funds fraudulently, and that the funds were used to pay debts and go towards expensive holidays.

She admitted an offence of theft and was jailed for two years suspended for two years at Worcester Crown Court in March last year with requirements to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and attended rehabilitation activity days with probation.

At a hearing Thursday Clarke, of Housman Way, Cleobury Mortimer, was back at the court where Judge Jim Tindal granted a confiscation order in the sum of £94,386.84 with an available amount of £19,548.72 to be paid immediately in compensation to the victim. He also ordered her to repay the remainder to the firm, in Lisle Avenue, Kidderminster, at a rate of £100 per month.

Detective Inspector Emma Wright of West Mercia Police Economic Crime Unit said: “This case demonstrates very clearly the work of the unit. Following a successful criminal conviction, the financial investigator in this case has worked tirelessly to locate assets held by the defendant and ensure they are removed from her to compensate the victim.

"This case had a devastating financial impact on the local company concerned, who had a challenge to survive and continue to pay their staff.

"Clarke breached the position of trust she held within the company to steal funds from them for her own personal gain. This order will see the company receive an immediate amount of over £19,000 returned and Clarke will have to continue to make payments monthly, until the remaining £74,000 is fully repaid.

"This shows the power of the Proceeds of Crime Act and should serve as a warning to others that ultimately crime does not pay.”

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