A crooked accountant fleeced her Birmingham boss of more than £300,000 and splashed the money on designer clothes and bags.
Julie Sexton-Blythe (pictured) diverted cash from a savings account at Hockley firm Reliable Stamping between February 2015 and January this year.
And when her scam was uncovered by West Midlands Police she claimed she needed the feel-good spending fix to help deal with losing a loved one in a car crash five years earlier.
Bosses raised the alarm in January after a series of payments to two particular suppliers had all but drained company reserves.
Sexton-Blythe joined the business in June 2014 but within six months had used her position to create two bogus payees – closely resembling the names of genuine suppliers – that funnelled cash into her own NatWest account.
Search warrants at her home in Severn Valley Caravan Park and a salon in Bridgnorth High Street – which she bought in the summer – uncovered a hoard of designer clothes, including fur coats, and accessories like handbags, purses and belts.
The 51-year-old went on to admit theft by employee and at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday (Dec 19) was jailed for 40 months.
Investigating officer, DC Catherine Wall, said: “She tried to cover her tracks by creating two payees with names very similar to established suppliers…and she managed to get away with her fraud for almost a year.
“In the end she was caught by her own greed as she continued diverting cash into her own accounts even at quiet trading times – and when the hole in company finances got bigger her scam was identified.
“The beauty salon was kitted out with high-end equipment, expensive furniture and leading beauty products; there is no way she could have afforded what we found on her accountant’s salary.
“In total, the payments she made to herself reached £315,000.
“In interview she claimed to be suffering emotional and psychological trauma from the car crash death of a family member in 2011…and that spending money on clothes and accessories made her feel better. She said the ‘fix’ would not last long so she found herself doing it again and again.”
West Midlands Police will now look to recover cash and assets from Sexton-Blythe under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
Source:: West Midlands Police News