Employee swindled from Sheffield firm

Cosmopolitan Engineering, Holywell Road, Sheffield.
Cosmopolitan Engineering, Holywell Road, Sheffield.
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A company secretary from Sheffield stole nearly a quarter of a million pounds from her employer over five years and spent it on drink, tobacco, cosmetics and clothes.

Sabina Turley, aged 61, wept and shook in the dock as she was jailed for 26 months at Sheffield Crown Court.

Judge Dean Kershaw told her: “You effectively went shopping on the company cheque book. Stealing nearly a quarter of a million pounds from a company that trusted you so much, and spending it on alcohol, tobacco, cosmetics and clothing - it has to be shown the court can’t tolerate that.”

Michael Tooley, prosecuting, said Turley, of Taunton Avenue, Wincobank, began working at Cosmopolitan Engineering in 1994 as company secretary. Her job involved dealing with petty cash, staff wages and other admin.

Her thieving was discovered during an audit, when it was found she had been using an electronic payment system to overpay her wages.

She was adding amounts of up to £1,200 a time to her salary.

Turley had also been writing out cheques totalling £190,107 to various companies, and an additional £28,534 worth of cheques had been written to cash and carry firm Costco for items including tobacco, cosmetics, alcohol, Dolce and Gabbana designer goods and food.

Money was also used to pay off a car loan, credit card debts and bills for Sky TV, Virgin Media, BT, HM Customs and John Lewis.

Turley had also remortgaged her home to buy a property in Cyprus.

Nathan Moxon, defending, said Turley had a range of health problems and depression and stealing had become an obsession. He said the money had been ‘frittered away on bits and bats’.

The firm’s director, Raymond Bond, told the court Turley’s thieving had a ‘major impact’. “Staff could have lost their jobs,” he said.

Turley, who admitted fraud and false accounting totalling £232,552, has a previous conviction for stealing from a different employer.