Bride jailed for stealing £200,000 towards wedding
- 20 June 2012
- From the section Lancashire
A bride who stole £200,000 from her employers to pay for a lavish wedding has been jailed.
Part-time accounts assistant Kirsty Lane, 30, transferred the funds from Pure AV's bank account into that of her and her future husband, Graham.
The fraud was discovered shortly after the pair's wedding at the Great Hall at Mains, near Blackpool in January 2011.
Lane, of Lewis Close, Adlington, Lancashire was sentenced to 20 months in prison at Preston Crown Court.
She stole about £122,000 from the Leyland company, which installs audio-visual equipment, by putting in fake invoices, marking them as paid and then depositing the money into her own account.
She also diverted about £70,000 through her husband's account, which she told him were savings, salary and bonuses. About £6,000 was transferred into a third account.
Company director Peter Sutton said Lane had cost the firm about £300,000, due to tax and VAT payments, and put the "livelihoods of 20-plus people" in jeopardy.
Police said Lane began working for Pure AV in May 2007 and started siphoning money into her account in December 2008.
A spokesman said the offences had continued until she left the company for her wedding on 23 January 2011 by which time she had made a total of 122 fraudulent transactions.
He said a large proportion of the money had been used to fund her "lavish wedding" which included a free bar, musicians, fireworks, a magician and face-painting.
He added that Lane had also used the cash to pay for home improvements and items such as a large television, a Tag Heuer watch, an iPod, compact mirrors and car keys covered in Swarovski crystals and personalised car registration plates.
He said she had "abused her position of trust to steal from her employer and fund a lavish lifestyle".
Speaking in Lane's defence, Amanda Johnson said she was a woman of good character who suffered from low self-esteem and the offending coincided with the time she met her husband.
"She felt that money and the trappings that money could buy would make her a more attractive proposition," she said.
She said Lane thought she could "make herself more attractive to him by having money and being able to spend it on gifts and holidays".
Passing sentence, Judge Pamela Badley said the "modest" first amounts of cash Lane stole from the company had escalated and gone on to fund a luxury lifestyle.
Judge Badley said her behaviour had been "fraudulent from the outset" and told her she had taken part in a "cynical exploitation of the small company for which you worked".
Speaking after sentencing, Mr Sutton said Lane had been "a trusted member of the team and she had been in that position for a number of years".
He said she defrauded the company in a complex way and there had been no obvious "digital trail".
"We just wanted it over. It's the end of a traumatic time in our existence and the legal system has prevailed," he said.
Graham Lane was found not guilty to one count of money laundering at Preston Crown Court on an earlier date.