‘Trusted’ Guisborough accountant stole £85,000 from firm

Catherine Tate used her role at Weatherhead Construction to transfer cash into her personal account over a four-year period.

Teesside Crown Court heard her fraud only came to light when she was forced to confess after repeatedly delaying the filing of the company’s annual accounts.

Prosecutor Nigel Soppitt said company boss Andrew Weatherhead initially agreed to pay the 46-year-old’s nursery fees when she returned from maternity leave as long as she deducted the amount from her salary.

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Tate was forced to take disciplinary action at the company after she failed to deduct her own salary but was allowed to keep her job when she promised to pay the money back.

The judge heard how her fraud failed in November 2022 when she failed to release the company’s accounts and a full audit was carried out.

Mr Soppitt said this showed the defendant made unauthorized payments to itself over a four-year period. The first time was in April 2017 and a total of £84,696.04 was deposited into her account.

In a business impact statement, the director said the theft had no impact on the company’s day-to-day operations as he had spent about two months working on the accounting and found it difficult as there was no one to do so could concentrate on other areas of the company.

The statement said: “A trusted employee in a privileged position completely abused that trust for her own benefit, which could have had dire consequences for the future of the company. Luckily that didn’t happen, but to have that trust thrown back in your face is pretty devastating.”

Tate, of Craven Vale, Guisborough, pleaded guilty to theft from an employer between 2017 and 2021.

Emma Williams, mitigating, said her client was suffering from gambling addiction and post-natal depression at the time of her offending and had found work following her release.

She added: “She is deeply ashamed and takes full responsibility.”

Ms Williams urged the judge to spare her an immediate custodial sentence as she has a young child to look after.

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Recorder Felicity Davies said: “The impact on the company was fortunately not as great as it could have been as the company was on a good financial and stable footing.”

“There was no impact on the day-to-day operations of the company.”

Tate was given an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £1,200 compensation to the company.

The 46-year-old accountant was given a three-month 7pm to 6am curfew and ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work.


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