Thiev­ing ac­counts clerk to sell house to re-pay firm £339k

South Wales Echo - - NEWS -

A TRUSTED ac­counts clerk who stole more than £330,000 from her em­ployer will have to sell her house to re­pay some of the money.

Beverley Pearce, 54, was jailed after she ad­mit­ted steal­ing from Pon­typrid­dbased build­ing com­pany Bre­con­gate – her em­ployer of 16 years – putting dozens of jobs at risk as a re­sult.

In a vic­tim im­pact state­ment read at her sen­tenc­ing hear­ing in Fe­bru­ary, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Paul Jones said: “The money that she has taken has se­verely dam­aged our busi­ness.”

The court heard the mother of two pock­eted a to­tal of £339,817.82 be­tween 2011 and 2016.

Dur­ing a Pro­ceeds of Crime Act hear­ing at Cardiff Crown Court, pros­e­cu­tor Claire Pick­thall said the de­fen­dant had £46,209.84 avail­able to pay back.

She asked the judge to make a con­fis­ca­tion or­der, with the money to be paid in com­pen­sa­tion to Bre­con­gate.

Clare Wilks, de­fend­ing, said her client would need to sell her house to raise the funds.

She asked for three months – the max­i­mum pe­riod al­lowed – for Pearce to pay the money. If the de­fen­dant does not pay in that time she could go to prison for 12 months, al­though she can ap­ply for an ex­ten­sion.

Pearce ap­peared via video link from HM Prison East­wood Park. She was jailed earlier this year for 32 months after she pleaded guilty to theft.

The court heard she paid her­self up to five times a month from the com­pany ac­counts. She was found out last year when an­other em­ployee no­ticed 90 unau­tho­rised trans­ac­tions from the com­pany ac­count to B Pearce.

Prose­cu­tors said she con­fessed im­me­di­ately, ad­mit­ting: “I’ve got my­self into trou­ble.”

Pearce, from Po­plar Road in Rhy­dyfe­lin, worked as an ac­count su­per­vi­sor for Bre­con­gate, a build­ing con­trac­tor com­pany based in Up­per Boat, near Pon­typridd.

The court heard her of­fend­ing started when she could not af­ford to pay her mort­gage.

Ms Wilks said her client was ad­dicted to on­line gam­bling, adding: “It was al­most not real money – putting fig­ures into the com­puter and gam­bling away.”

She said Pearce was “shocked” when she re­alised how much money she had taken.

Judge Thomas Crowther QC told her at the sen­tenc­ing hear­ing: “You have lost your good name and mys­ti­fied your fam­ily.

“You may not have driven fast cars or lived in a man­sion but you frit­tered away thou­sands of pounds that would trans­form any­one’s life.”

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