A wages clerk, who spun “a web of deceit” to cover stealing £120,000 from her Huddersfield employers, has been jailed for two years.
Vicky Knott had worked for Milnsbridge based Trojan Plastic for 10 years when her dishonesty, which had been going on for the last three years, was discovered.
Leeds Crown Court heard only months before her offending came to light she had asked for and been given a pay rise.
Meanwhile since January 2012 she had been diverting money into two of her own bank accounts and into a credit card account for her own use, with sums ranging from £2,500 to £14,000.
Tony Kelbrick prosecuting told the court she had a position of trust in that she was entitled to make payment from the company’s bank accounts on her own authority without supervision or counter signature.
That meant she was able to cover what she was doing in various ways such as creating false invoices from suppliers, pretending to pay wages to employees who did not exist or had left the company.
She also falsely recorded she had made forward payments to suppliers and took money from petty cash.
“In short she created a fairly comprehensive web of deceit to cover up her siphoning of money from the company for her own use.”
Mr Kelbrick said Knott claimed she had used most of the money paying debts and denied having a lavish lifestyle although she accepted spending some on an expensive holiday and making a deposit on a car.
He told the court David Mosley, managing director of Trojan Plastic said he had considered her a “model employee” until her dishonesty was discovered leaving him and her colleagues feeling totally let down particularly as she did not seem to have any compelling reason for it.
The offences had impacted financially on the firm with everyone having to work extra hard to ensure the business kept going. Mr Mosley said for example three machines desperately needed to be upgraded but could not at that time with the fear if they failed that jobs could be lost as a result.
Lorraine Harris representing Knott said she had always been in financial difficulties since her time at university, where she only spent one year before leaving.
She had just been trying to keep her family life at home happy and had hoped initially to repay what she took but then found it snowballed. She realised that was foolish and misguided but found herself in a cycle of debt.
Since then she and her husband had separated.
Knott, 39 of Long Lane, Clayton West, Huddersfield admitted 12 charges of fraud by abuse of position.
Jailing her Recorder Ian Harris said her offending was “just too serious, too persistent” to avoid an immediate jail term. “It was sophisticated in nature, it required planning, it required determination, it required the creation of false documents and the fraudulent activity was over a sustained period of more than three years.”
“This offending was insidious and corrosive, your dishonesty struck at the root of the business. It is testimony to the business that it survived these losses.”
The court heard the prosecution will make future efforts to recover money under the proceeds of crime act.