A crooked finance director ordered to give just £1 back to the firm she stole £100,000 from may yet have to repay the full sum.
Sarah Taylor used her trusted position at South Tyneside packaging firm Samuel Grant North East to steal £100,690 by siphoning money from accounts and misusing the company credit card.
The Jarrow firm, established 126 years ago, considered closing down with 13 jobs placed at risk.
Newcastle Crown Court heard Taylor used much of the cash to "buy friendship" and frittered it all away.
As a result, she was ordered to pay back just £1 when she was sentenced earlier this week.
An order made under the Proceeds of Crime Act, however, allows prosecutors to pursue her for more cash in the future if she comes into money.
Speaking after the case, the senior investigating officer, Detective Constable Craig Tomlinson, from Northumbria Police, said: "Taylor's actions had a significant impact on this company, which, for a period of time believed they had no sustainable future and considered making staff redundant.
"Taylor was guided by greed and believed she could hide her actions by moving money around and delaying sending out paperwork to customers.
"But, ultimately, the law caught up with her, as it always does and we are pleased Taylor admitted her offences before the courts.
"We hope this goes to show that no matter who you are, which job you have and how clever you think you are, you will not get away with committing offences like these."
In a bid to cover her tracks, she would slosh large sums of money around between different accounts to make it difficult to trace where all the funds had gone.
Taylor, 35, of Cheviot View, Gateshead, admitted committing two counts of theft and one of fraud between June 2015 and May 2017.
She was sentenced to two years' imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.
Her defence team insisted "she has not put herself in any better position by what she has done".