‘Trusted’ Barrow worker stole over £100k
Last updated at 07:56, Tuesday, 27 November 2012
A FRAUDSTER who stole more than £100,000 of company money from a family business has been jailed.
Amanda Harrison, 47, stole £115,000 from Simmonds Recruitment, of Duke Street, Barrow, between January 2008 and June 2012 while she was trusted to run the company.
The mum-of-two was yesterday jailed for 12 months when she appeared at Lancaster Crown Court having admitted false accountancy and theft.
The family company is owned by Lynda and Jeff Moss.
Mr Brett Geraghty, prosecuting, said between 2005 and 2007 Harrison became a very trusted member of staff and was given responsibility for running the business after Mrs Moss took semi-retirement.
Harrison became a close family friend, to the extent they bequeathed the business to her.
Between 2008 and 2012, Harrison was in sole charge while the Moss family lived in Scotland, but in April 2011 she left to work at South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Dalton.
As a result, Mrs Moss reviewed staff pay and noticed Harrison paid herself an extra month’s wage, even though she had left.
She then checked the accounting system and realised £115,000 had been paid to Harrison’s personal bank account.
Harrison admitted everything when interviewed by police in June this year.
She said that in 2008 she took advantage of a mistake in the system and then on a weekly basis made fraudulent payments to herself.
She told police on four occasions she used the money to finance holidays to Tenerife.
Mrs Moss said in a statement: “She was a trusted friend who has clearly abused my trust and her position.”
Mr Brian Williams, defending, said Harrison was contracted to a 25-hour week, but her responsibility grew “considerably” and she found herself under increased pressure but on the same wage.
She divorced in 2006, was left in sole care of her children, and in 2008 her sister was diagnosed with lung disease, which did not prove fatal
But in case the worst should happen, the family organised a holiday which Harrison could not afford, but took the opportunity to use company money
Mr Williams said Harrison felt pressured to buy her daughters goods such as phones, clothes and treat them to holidays to “keep up with the Joneses”.
She had a cancer scare “which made her realise she could not carry on what she was doing” and had a hysterectomy, suffering septicaemia as a result, he added.
Harrison also sold her house to repay some of the money and Mr Williams concluded: “She could not have done any more in order to show her contrition, her remorse and make some effort to repay what she possibly can.”
His Honour Judge Tony Lancaster said: “You were a trusted person, left alone to get on with the business, and you abused this trust in a terrible way.”
First published at 13:06, Sunday, 25 November 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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