NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Woman jailed for embezzling £1.3m from Aberdeen oil firm

Jacqueline McPhie Image copyright CIARAN DONNELLY
Image caption Jacqueline McPhie was vice president for finance at the time of the offence

A woman who embezzled more than £1.3m from her employers has been jailed for three years and four months at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Jacqueline McPhie, 46, took the money while vice president for finance at Altus Intervention in Aberdeen between March 2013 and April 2014.

Sentencing her, judge Lady Wise said McPhie's actions could only have been motivated by greed.

McPhie, of Arbroath, had earlier admitted embezzlement.

The high court had earlier heard that she diverted money from the business, which supplies equipment for North Sea oil and gas projects, to fund her lifestyle.

McPhie bought an £80,000 Range Rover, and spent more than £60,000 on a new garage and driveway, £52,000 on a kitchen and £30,000 on a summer house in her garden.

The court also heard that she had previously been given 300 hours of community service 16 years ago for stealing £250,000 from previous employers.

When she appeared for sentencing, defence advocate Tony Lenehan told judge Lady Wise that his client was "very unhappy" at the time of her offending behaviour.

Speaking as McPhie sat in the dock weeping and holding her head in her hands, Mr Lenehan added: "She was in a very unhappy relationship. She feels that she was placed under pressure to provide wealth for her family unit."

'Enviable existence'

Lady Wise said she had considered a report on McPhie and Mr Lenehan's submissions, but had no alternative but to impose a custodial sentence on this occasion.

The judge told McPhie: "You are 46 years old and had what many people would regard as an enviable existence.

"You enjoyed a salary of almost £150,000 per annum, you were married with a child, your husband also had work.

"Your motivation can only have been greed, to have even more material wealth than your position allowed you to accrue. It is of considerable concern that this is not your first conviction for a dishonesty offence.

"You have a previous conviction for embezzlement, also of a significant sum dating from 2000 when you were given a non custodial sentence. That experience did not deter you from further similar criminal conduct."

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