Sheffield Crown Court heard on March 16 how Jennifer Green, aged 50, of Redmires Road, near Hallam, Sheffield, has been looking after the finances for Dixon Dawson Chartered Architects, of Nether Edge, Sheffield, when she siphoned off money from the company accounts into her own account.
Jess Butterell, prosecuting, said Miss Green had originally worked as a secretary but was promoted with responsibility for the payroll in 2011 and 2012 and she linked payments from a related bank account to her own personal account for a seven-year period stealing £500,490.23.
Judge Rachael Harrison told Green: “You created false invoices covering payments into your own bank account. This business had been in difficulty and you knew that but you continued to steal from someone who had gone out of his way to be kind to you.”
Ms Butterell added that aggravating features of the offence included a clear breach of responsibility and trust that had been placed with the defendant as well as the sophisticated nature of the theft with numerous transactions spanning over some seven years.
The court heard how Green’s employer struggled financially to keep the company going at great personal distress while Green continued to steal money which she spent on an extravagant lifestyle including clothes and holidays.
Green, who has one previous conviction relating to obtaining property by deception, pleaded guilty to the theft from between January, 2012, and August, 2019.
Her employer stated he feels betrayed and the offence has affected his physical and mental health and well-being after the company’s liability had been put at risk.
Green’s employer even arranged a loan for £4,000 for the defendant in 2013 after she had separated from her partner and claimed she was struggling financially.
He told how he went without his own earnings and holidays to make sure others were paid and the financial position of the company created a rift with his father who oversaw the business’s partnership in Durham.
Green’s employer added: “The declaration of bankruptcy by Jenny has created stress and strain because there will be no opportunity for recompense.”
Tim Gaubert, defending, said Green has two daughters and has been through two difficult relationships with her ex-husband and an ex-partner and there has been background of alcohol abuse.
He added: “She says that it was done out of terrible financial circumstances at the time of the break-up of those two relationships and for caring for her children.”
Mr Gaubert said: “There are innocent victims here. She knows she has caused that pain, she knows she has caused that suffering and she knows she will pay the price for that.”
Judge Rachael Harrison pointed out the stolen money had been spent on an extravagant lifestyle and was used to fund alcohol, shopping and holidays.
She told Green: “You made full admissions having frittered away half-a-million pounds.”
Judge Harrison sentenced Green to 33 months of custody.