The CFO who stole £ 85,000 from a company bought overseas

A CFO who stole more than £ 85,000 from the company she worked for bought several houses, including a house in Hungary, a court has heard.

Debbie Alexander, 50, was employed by Tail Lift and Shutterdoor Specialists (TASDS) in Caerphilly for six years, but committed the theft between 2014 and 2018.

Without his employer knowing, Alexander was making regular transfers from the company account to his bank and credit card accounts.

She was the only person in the small business, which employed 10 people, with access to the accounts.

A sentencing hearing at Newport Crown Court learned on Tuesday that the theft came to light after Alexander, of Neath, received a final written warning from TASDS chief executive Daniel Hunt because of the way she spoke to members of the public and potential customers.

That same day, she left the company and did not return, having deleted all of her emails and business correspondence.

A new CFO was hired and tasked with auditing the accounts after Mr Hunt became wary of large sums of money that had been paid from the accounts and not counted.

It was discovered that around £ 87,500 was missing, so the police were called and the Financial Investigation Unit intervened.

They performed a full review of the company’s accounts, which was hampered by Alexander’s deletion of his emails, but were able to identify the accounts corresponding to payments made through the TASDS account.

Alexander was questioned and she denied stealing the money, but when told police would use production orders to examine her personal accounts, she admitted to making the payments.

The defendant subsequently pleaded guilty to theft from an employer.

Prosecutor Peter Donnison said that during the period of the theft, Alexander purchased numerous properties, including a house in Hungary, as well as major home improvement work and overseas vacations.

Defense lawyer Craig Jones said his client was realistic about her position and admitted that her offense was a breach of trust over a period of time.

He said after quitting her job she was declared bankrupt and “lost everything” including the house she owned before joining TASDS.

Upon sentencing, Judge Jeremy Jenkins said: “Anyone who robs their employers during this time and to that extent can only expect an immediate jail sentence.

“This theft represents blatant and sustained dishonesty over an extended period of time and a blatant breach of trust.”

Alexander, of Main Road, Duffryn Cellwen, was sentenced to 14 months in jail and was subject to the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Hunt said Alexander’s breach had a significant impact on the business and caused not only financial damage but also damage to the company’s reputation.

He added: “She was very calculated and put my business in jeopardy for several years. She showed no remorse.

“We were really a successful business, but we thought we were breaking even because they were stealing all the money.

“We are fortunate to still be in business because my employees and I could all have lost our jobs. “

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