South Shields mum stole £25,000 from her employer in two year scam described as 'extremely serious offence’

A mum who stole over £25,000 from her bosses in a customer refund scam described by a judge as ‘an extremely serious offence’.

Thursday, 4th February 2021, 5:06 pm

Tracy Griffin used her trusted position on Vertu Motors Plc's administration team to divert cash so she could pay off debts.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the scheme was exposed when a customer complained that a refund they had been expecting from a service plan had not appeared in their bank.

Prosecutor Marc Atkins told the court: "She was asked about this, at which point she disclosed she had changed the customer's bank details to those of her eight-year-old son.

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The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court

"Following her disclosure, all of her transactions were audited.

"On 68 occasions between June 4, 2015 and May 2, 2017 the defendant had paid refunds totalling £25,377 into accounts belonging to herself, her children and her ex-husband. She had also paid refunds directly to her bank card."

Griffin, 48, of Centenary Avenue, South Shields, admitted fraud by false representation.

Assistant Judge Advocate General Edward Legard sentenced her to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with 200 hours unpaid work.

The judge said: "Theft from ones employer is an extremely serious offence.

"It represents a betrayal of trust. It causes significant financial and reputational damage to the business.

"It is not a victimless crime by any means. "

Prosecutors have launched proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act to seize any assets Griffin may have.

Jessica Slaughter, defending, said the background to the offending was money problems and debt.

Miss Slaughter said Griffin, who has family that depend on her, has never been in trouble before or since and has references to her positive character.

In a letter to the court, which was read out by her barrister, Griffin said: "I would like to express how devastated and sorry I am for the awful act of stealing from my employer.

"I feel so bad and ashamed of myself. I am embarrassed and so sorry for the despicable act of my crime and how much I have let down myself, my work family and my family by my actions.

"I was in a position of trust and I abused this, I am so sincerely sorry."

The court heard Griffin lost her job as a result of what she did.

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