Swindon bookkeeper stole £400k from employer to invest in luxury lifestyle

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A shopaholic bookkeeper who stole nearly £400,000 from her company has been jailed for a lot more than two years.

Haydon Wick female Suki Smith, 27, of Bayleaf Avenue, took the money to prop up her unaffordable way of life and used the money to shop or pay home bills.

Bristol Crown Courtroom heard that, between August 2015 and January 2018, Smith stole £396,703.91 from Farleigh Real estate Ltd.

She visited great lengths to cover her tracks and was just rumbled when a study into the company’s cash flow highlighted disparities.

Smith, who was simply self-employed, worked at the housing developer one day weekly to procedure the firm’s invoices.

Although the firm’s accounts had been regularly audited, her crimes were only discovered when another employee was asked to handle a cash flow analysis in January this past year.

Grace Flynn, prosecuting, said: “They found out payments had been created before invoices have been issued and some had opted to accounts with identical type codes and account figures.

“It transpired that those codes linked to the defendant’s personal accounts. Actions Fraud and the authorities were notified.”

Miss Flynn said that, although almost £400,000 was stolen, Smith had used that cash to pay HM Income and Customs and builders’ merchants Travis Perkins £137,936.32 to cover various bills – meaning she personally benefited to the tune of £258,767.59.

“The defendant was interviewed by the authorities and she made complete admissions,” she said.

“In terms of analysis, there were significant efforts made when it comes to labeling the amount of money and transferring the money into her personal accounts.

“Her financial situation had not been great and she was a shopaholic and she accepted making the payments to HMRC and Travis Perkins to be able to cover her tracks.

“The company hasn’t gone under nonetheless it has resulted in significant financial problems for them.”

Smith, of Bayleaf Avenue, Swindon, Wiltshire, had previously pleaded guilty to costs of theft by the worker and false accounting.

David Maunder, defending, stated: “She has expressed remorse and feels extremely foolish.

“It might be that the juxtaposition of huge sums of money flowing around the business accounts and her very own financial position is a description for how it came into being.

“That is a case where there are a sizable number of small obligations regularly flowing out. You can see how a predicament like this could easily get uncontrollable when in financial problems.”

He added: “Among the first points I asked her today was what happened to all or any the money? She tells me that she has no possessions and lives in rented lodging.

“She’s spent it about day-to-day living no doubt a lot of shopping. She will not drive an extravagant car. She informs me she’s nothing of any material left.”

Judge Brian Forster QC jailed Smith for 28 months, telling her: “I have considered the time of time, the money and the technique you used to transfer the amount of money into your have account.

“You took techniques to cover up what you had been doing and you obviously falsified records to hide everything you were doing.

“You were ready of trust and you betrayed your employer and yourself with what you did.

“It appears you became swept up in something where you had been taking money to cover a day-to-day way of living and in the long run you cannot stop.

“A simple division teaches you took about £80,000 a 12 months and I’ve had no real description for where that cash has gone.

“You considered your company as a way of supporting your way of life.”

A Proceeds of Criminal offense hearing will need place afterward in the year.