Compulsive shopper nicks £130k to fund luxury life
She diverted money from family firm
A WOMAN who suffers from a compulsive shopping disorder has been jailed for taking £130,000 from her employers.
Claire Johnston, 34, bought Christian Louboutin shoes, expensive jewellery and treated friends to lavish gifts.
The finance worker was arrested after colleagues spotted pictures of her luxury lifestyle on her social media accounts.
Following her arrest Johnston was diagnosed by psychologists with “compulsive buying disorder”.
Her lawyer Jonathan Straw said the condition gave his client a buzz from “buying items and treating people”. Johnston was employed in the accounts department of an engineering firm owned by her husband’s cousin.
Lincoln crown court heard that both her husband and brother also work at the family-run company.
Johnston received invoices from companies and altered them by inputting her own bank details.
It appeared she was paying suppliers but the funds went into her account.
Prosecutor Mark Watson said: “Colleagues had noticed over social media that the defendant was flaunting a lavish lifestyle. Money was spent on things like holidays, designer shoes and designer watches. There were two trips to Las Vegas and a wedding in Mexico.
“There were other holidays in Cyprus and Florida. There were a number of shoes by Valentino and Christian Louboutin and some jewellery.”
Johnston, of Grantham, Lincs, also spent £5,000 on a weekend in London.
She admitted defrauding the company of £132,435 over three-and-a-half years.
Jonathan Straw, defending, said: “The psychologist describes her as having a compulsive buying disorder – getting a buzz after buying items and enjoying treating people.
“This wasn’t purely motivated by a sense of greed.
“This was a young lady with all sorts of issues who thought she was endearing herself to others with lavish gifts.” Johnston was jailed for 20 months. Passing sentence, Judge Simon Hirst told her: “You used this money to fund a lavish lifestyle you couldn’t afford.
“You lived the sort of lifestyle that many people dream of living.
“Not all of the money was spent on you. None of it was a necessity.”
LAVISH Claire Johnston got gifts for pals