JK Rowling sues PA for $42k credit card theft
J.K. ROWLING’S husband told a court yesterday he was astonished how “good at lying” his wife’s PA was when he confronted her over an alleged $42,000 fraudulent shopping spree.
The Harry Potter author, pictured, is suing former employee Amanda Donaldson, 35, for using a company credit card to buy high-end cosmetics, food and two luxury cats.
Her husband, Dr Neil Murray, uncovered the alleged fraud when Ms Donaldson stole a $700 cash deposit for a Christmas party at a Michelinstarred restaurant and then faked emails from the restaurant to cover her tracks.
Giving evidence at a Scottish Court yesterday, Dr Murray said he was astonished when Ms Donaldson “looked straight at me and blatantly lied” as he challenged her over the theft.
He said Ms Donaldson, who was sacked by Ms Rowling last year, stole Harry Potter merchandise intended for sick and dying children.
The PA, a mother of two from Lanarkshire, is accused of using a business credit card for personal spending.
Of the moment he confronted Ms Donaldson, Dr Murray told the court: “Amanda had always adopted a lively, slightly bubbly, a bit scatty demeanour. I thought she might be emotional or run about the office looking for bits of paper but what I found was a completely different personality.
“She looked at me and blatantly lied about giving that money to the restaurant and lied about other things. I was taken aback at how good at lying she was.”
Dr Murray added: “I have experience of lying, I ran a methadone clinic and usually there are giveaway signs but she remained calm, her pupils didn’t close and her cheeks didn’t flush.”
The court heard that Ms Donaldson also took foreign money from an office safe to which only she had the combination. The PA, who began working for Ms Rowling in 2014, was responsible for company funds and memorabilia requests from fans.
She denies wrongly benefiting to a value of $42,000 and claims purchases were business-related.
Dr Murray said his wife’s accountant first emailed him over Ms Donaldson’s alleged fraud after she falsely claimed she had paid a $700 deposit for a restaurant booking in Edinburgh.
They found “dozens if not hundreds of entries where Amanda used the (credit) card to purchase things for herself”.
The civil case continues later this month.