Payroll worker stole £100,000 from Sheffield firm – with colleague made redundant to cover the loss

Employee Gillian Lane stole �106,000 from MFH Engineering
Employee Gillian Lane stole �106,000 from MFH Engineering
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A Sheffield payroll supervisor who stole more than £100,000 from her employer – resulting in one of her colleagues being made redundant to help cover the loss – has been jailed for two years.

Gillian Lane, aged 49, made out fake invoices to cover her tracks as she stole the money over the course of six years from MFH Engineering, based On Charlotte Road, close to Bramall Lane.

The trusted employee had joined the company in 1999 and said she carried out the fraud to help pay for her and her husband’s alcohol addiction and mortgage repayments.

The court heard the company had made a number of redundancies due to the recession and ‘at least’ one job would have been saved had Lane not stolen the money.

She was sentenced to two years in jail at Sheffield Crown Court after pleading guilty to fraud by abuse of position at an earlier hearing.

The fraud was uncovered by the company’s group finance manager Richard Cook after he discovered a discrepancy in the accounts in January this year.

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The court heard Lane gave an ‘inadequate explanation’ when what had happened – leading to a more detailed investigation taking place.

It was eventually discovered payments of more than £96,000 said to have been made to two contractors had been paid into her bank account.

She had also stolen around another £10,000 and covered her tracks by creating 22 false invoices.

The total amount taken between March 2008 and February 2014 was £106,459.81.

A statement from Mr Cook read to the court said: “Like my colleagues, I was totally shocked and stunned to discover what she had done.”

He said Lane had been a ‘trusted and respected long-serving member of staff’ who had been paid loyalty and Christmas bonuses throughout her time with the firm and also been provided with an emergency loan by them.

Amy Earnshaw, defending, said her client ‘could not recall how this all started’.

She said: “Mrs Lane has suffered unease and guilt throughout her offending.

“She is extremely ashamed of her actions. She can’t punish herself enough for her behaviour.”

Ms Earnshaw said Lane’s husband had developed an alcohol addiction in 2010 and at one stage she was buying ‘20 cans of alcohol every two days’ that the pair would both drink

The stolen money was also used to help keep up with mortgage repayments after her husband lost his job in 2012. The property has now been repossessed after Lane was sacked.

Lane offered to pay compensation to the firm once she found a new job, but Judge Jacqueline Davies said the seriousness of the crime meant she had to go to prison.