Glasgow & West Scotland

Margaret Ann Kelly jailed for embezzling £350,000

A woman who embezzled £350,000 from her employer has been jailed for 32 months.

Margaret Ann Kelly, from Chapelhall, North Lanarkshire, admitted taking the cash from Glasgow-based Swales Forrest and Son between 2006 and 2010.

The city's sheriff court heard how she moved cash into her own account, including on two occasions when her boss was attending family funerals.

Kelly, 36, was caught after the firm's accountant checked the books and asked her for details of transactions.

Kelly joined the company at 16 and went on to handle the day-to-day running of the office and the financial side of business, that bought and sold used vans.

Brothers' funerals

The court heard that business-owner Hugh Forrest lost two brothers, his twin James, 42, and William, 48, within a short period of one another.

He told the court: "On the days of both my brothers' funerals she took money."

Kelly was caught after she was asked for details of financial transactions by the firm's accountant.

The bank later confirmed three large transactions had been paid from the business account and from Vans Scotland Ltd - an associated company - into Kelly's personal account.

In January 2011 while being interviewed by police, Kelly confirmed that between January 2006 until that time, she had spend £134,000 on her debit card despite only earning £45,000 wages.

She also confirmed that her direct debits amounted to £55,000 and her standing orders to £45,000.

Jailing her, Sheriff Paul Crozier told Kelly that her actions had "very serious consequences" for the business and Forrest family.

He said: "The only way to deal with this is by sending you to jail and that is jail for a long time."

Afterwards Mr Forrest said Kelly was treated more like a family member than an employee.

He said: "It was all boys in our family, Margaret was the nearest thing to a sister.

"It's a low sentence she was given, we hoped she'd get at least three years for what she has done to our life."

He added: "It has been a lot of stress for my whole family and my mum and dad are elderly people with health problems. She has got off very lightly."

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