Shopaholic bookkeeper jailed for £400k theft from employer

The Crown Court sign
Image caption Suki Smith worked at the property developer one day a week to process the firm's invoices.

A shopaholic bookkeeper who stole nearly £400,000 from her employer has been jailed for more than two years.

Suki Smith, 27, of Bayleaf Avenue, Swindon, admitted stealing £396,703.91 over three years while working one day a week at Farleigh Property Ltd.

She used the money on an unaffordable lifestyle and to do a "great deal of shopping", Bristol Crown Court heard.

Sentencing her to 28 months in jail, Judge Brian Forster QC said she had "betrayed" her employer and herself.

Ms Smith, who was self employed, also worked at the property developer, processing its invoices.

Although the firm's accounts were regularly audited, it was only after a cashflow report was carried out that payments into Ms Smith's personal account were discovered.

In a bid to cover her tracks, the court heard Ms Smith used £138,000 of the stolen money to pay HM Revenue and Customs and various builders' merchants bills.

'Nothing left'

But Grace Flynn, prosecuting, said the bookkeeper had personally benefited to the tune of nearly £260,000.

"Her financial situation was not good and she was a shopaholic," she said.

"The company has not gone under but it has led to significant financial issues for them," she added.

David Maunder, defending, said Ms Smith was remorseful and felt "extremely foolish".

"She tells me that she lives in rented accommodation and has nothing of any substance left," he said.

A proceeds of crime hearing is due to take place later in the year.

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