Office worker stole £94,000 from company to pay off family debts

AN OFFICE worker stole more than £94,000 from her employers to pay off her family’s debts, a court has heard.

Carol Flynn, 46, admitted stealing £94,458.66 between May 2008 and November 2010 from her bosses at Regency Decorators in West Gorgie Park, Edinburgh.

The city’s sheriff court heard on Wednesday how Flynn was in charge of payroll at the small company.

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Depute procurator fiscal Anna Murphy told the court that the mother of three scammed her bosses by overpaying herself on pay day.

The ruse was only rumbled when an accountant who was auditing Regency’s books noticed that Flynn was paying herself more than what she was entitled to.

Flynn, of Redhall Grove, Edinburgh, pleaded guilty to an embezzlement charge at a hearing at the sheriff court last month before Sheriff Elizabeth Jarvie QC.

Sentence had been deferred until Wednesday in order for the court to obtain reports about Flynn’s character - and for the Crown and defence to prepare an agreed narrative for the court detailing the circumstances surrounding the offence.

The charge to which Flynn pleaded guilty to stated that she committed the theft whilst employed as an office administrator at the company.

She also faced a money laundering charge which alleged she transferred the stolen cash into bank accounts that could be used by her family members.

However, prosecutors agreed to drop the charge after she entered a not guilty plea to the allegation.

During the hearing on Wednesday, Flynn was also accompanied by her husband Robert,51,. He also stood accused of participating in the alleged money laundering scam. However, he was acquitted after his not guilty plea to the charge was accepted by the Crown.

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Flynn was also told during the hearing that prosecutors intend to use Proceeds of Crime legislation against her - a confiscation hearing was fixed by Sheriff Jarvie for September 5 2012.

On Wednesday, Miss Murphy told the court that Flynn had worked for the company for 16 years and was one of the firm’s most trusted employees.

The court heard how she exploited her position of trust and started transferring large amounts of money into her account over a two and a half year period.

In late 2010, the company hired an accountant to audit its finances and the professional financial expert found that Flynn had been overpaying herself.

Miss Murphy added: “Large sums of money had been transferred from the company to the accused’s bank account. None of the payments were authorised by any relevant members of staff within the company.

“In January 2011, the decision to dismiss the accused from her position was taken. Her position was terminated the following month.

“In March 2011, the accused was detained and cautioned by police.”

Defence solicitor Roy Harley told the court that his client was full of remorse for the crime and had contemplated taking her own life.

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Mr Harley added: “However, she was talked out of committing suicide by her daughter.”

The court heard that Flynn was being treated for depression and anxiety by staff at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in the Scottish capital.

Mr Harley also said that Flynn didn’t use the cash to subside a flashy lifestyle - and had taken it to help family finances.

He added: “Mrs Flynn has shown no predliction towards drink, drugs or an extravagant lifestyle. She simply took the money to stabilise her family’s financial situation.

“She has expressed full remorse. She fully understands the impact that her behaviour has had on her victim and her own family.”

Sheriff Jarvie further deferred sentence on Flynn until August 22 2012.