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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Cleobury woman ordered to pay £94K compensation to former employer in theft case

A Cleobury Mortimer woman has been ordered to repay more than £94K to her previous employer in compensation after she stole funds in her role as Senior Accounts Manager.

The order was made by Worcester Crown Court on 15 July 2021, following a Confiscation Hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Amanda Clarke who is 56-years-old from Cleobury Mortimer, worked for Rowan Steels, based in Kidderminster, for eight years before leaving suddenly in January 2019. As part of her role, Clarke had access to the company accounts at Rowan Steels and dealt with invoices, wages and payment of goods.

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After Clarke left the company, the owner of Rowan Steels took over the financial dealings and noticed irregularities including money being transferred from the company bank accounts to Clarke personal accounts.

Clarke set up supplier payment records using the names of known suppliers to the business but with her own personal bank account details.  Transactions shown on the Rowan Steels bank account indicate payments to the suppliers but the funds were actually sent to accounts held by Clarke.

On Friday 16 August 2019, Clarke attended a voluntary interview at Ludlow police station and admitted taking the funds fraudulently and that the funds were used to pay debts and in part payment of expensive holidays.

On 26 November 2019 at Kidderminster Magistrates Court, Clarke indicated a guilty plea to ‘Theft from person of another between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2018.

On 4 March 2020, at Worcester Crown Court, Clarke was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment, suspended for 24 months, for theft from person in the period 1st January 2015 and 31 December 2018 in Kidderminster. The sentence also included requirements to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and to participate in a Rehabilitation Activity and Woman’s Programme. 

Subsequently, West Mercia Police Economic Crime Unit commenced confiscation proceedings in order to recover assets for the victim. On 15 July 2021, at Worcester Crown Court, HHJ Tindal granted a confiscation order in the amount of £94,386.84p, with an available amount of £19,548.72p to be paid immediately in compensation to the victim. HHJ Tindal went on to make a further compensation order for Clarke to pay £100 per month to the victim until the remaining amount of the order is satisfied.

Detective Inspector Emma Wright, of West Mercia Police Economic Crime Unit said:

“This case demonstrates very clearly the work of the Economic Crime Unit. Following a successful criminal conviction, the financial investigator in this case has worked tirelessly to locate assets held by the defendant and ensure they are removed from her to compensate the victim. This case had a devastating financial impact on the local company concerned, who had a challenge to survive and continue to pay their staff.

“Clarke breached the position of trust she held within the company to steal funds from them for her own personal gain. This order will see the company receive an immediate amount of over £19K returned and Clarke will have to continue to make payments monthly, until the remaining £74K is fully repaid.

“This shows the power of the Proceeds of Crime Act and should serve as a warning to others that ultimately crime does not pay.”

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