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Mum-of-two swindled company out of £370k to fund lavish lifestyle ...

February 02,2017 02:34

A mum stole more than £370,000 from her bosses - costing almost 100 people their jobs just before Christmas - so she could fund her lifestyle and pay for drugs.and more »

A mum stole more than £370,000 from her bosses - costing almost 100 people their jobs just before Christmas - so she could fund her lifestyle and pay for drugs. Kerryanne Clarke, 38, shared pictures of herself skydiving and enjoyed a "luxury lifestyle" with the money she had taken, a court heard. Using her position as a bookkeeper , Clarke transferred cash from Elmwood Construction Services Ltd into her personal accounts. More than 360 transactions were carried out over a three-and-a-half-year period, resulting in the liquidation of the family-run business and almost 100 people being made redundant just before Christmas. The mum-of-two, of Cambroe, made “duplicate” payments but instead of paying the intended recipient twice, she transferred cash to her own accounts in what the “devastated” property development firm called an abuse of trust for “personal gain to satisfy her greed”, reports the Daily Record.

Clarke used the funds to maintain her lavish lifestyle
Clarke – who funded her drug habit with the illegal money – kept the name of where the money was meant to be paid on the statement, but manually changed the account details. Ninety-two employees were made redundant as a result of her actions, most of whom lost their jobs just before Christmas in 2014. At a hearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court Clarke pleaded guilty to embezzling £372,163 between September 2010 and July 2014. Sheriff Paul Crozier revoked Clarke’s bail and remanded her in custody because of “the gravity of this offence”. The court heard Elmwood is a property development company based in Glasgow, and Clarke was employed as a bookkeeper and office manager. She was in a position of trust and given access to the safe and authorised to make payments to external companies using online banking and cheques. Clarke’s employment with Elmwood started in 2003 and she resigned in July 2014 – before her crimes came to light. The court heard how, in April 2012, the director of the company noticed Clarke wasn’t completing her contracted working hours. He decided to take the online bank facilities away from her meaning she couldn’t make payments to third parties, but could make inter-company transactions. Clarke handed in her resignation letter in June 2014 but failed to give documentation that was asked of her before she left a couple of weeks later.

Elmwood Construction Services Ltd
(Photo: Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser)
After her departure, discrepancies were discovered in the company accounts including a firm being paid £1022 twice, but who later confirmed they only received one payment. Bosses tried to track Clarke down and eventually she contacted one via Facebook. But no explanation was given and she never replied to a letter or email sent to her. Further examination of the company’s accounts uncovered that £372,163 had been paid into four different accounts Clarke held, in more than 360 separate transactions. She even used a director’s bank authenticator without his knowledge. A spokesperson for Elmwood told the Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser: “Kerryanne Clarke was employed by Elmwood (Glasgow) Ltd between 2003 and the company’s liquidation in October 2013. She was responsible for bookkeeping for all our related companies. “The significant sums of money she embezzled over a three-and-a-half year period from related group companies was the significant contributing factor for the starvation of cash flow and the ultimate failure of the company. This resulted in 92 people losing their jobs. “We managed to offer new employment through one of our other trading companies for approximately half of the employees which at the time included Mrs Clarke.

Clarke, of Dunnock Place, pled guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court last Thursday to embezzling £372,163
(Photo: PA)
“It later transpired she continued to embezzle money until a matter of days before she resigned from her position. “Mrs Clarke was a highly trusted employee. This position of trust was abused to the greatest extent, for personal gain to satisfy her greed and desire for a luxury lifestyle. “When we discovered the extent of stolen money our first thought was of the companies and jobs that may not have been lost had we access to that liquidity. “Elmwood (Glasgow) Ltd was established in 1972 by the current owner’s father. The personal impact of the failed company has been, and continues to be, devastating, not just for the owner, but for all the hard-working, dedicated team that remain here.” Defence lawyer Ryan Sloan told the court Clarke has two young children and that she has a drug problem. Sentence was deferred until later this month.

Crime,Banks,Court case,Redundancy,Christmas party

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