AN accountant caused a century-old roofing company to go into liquidation after defrauding them out of more than £50,000.
Jennifer Tansey caused job losses as a result of her year-long deception at Leeds-based Pickles Brothers, one of the city’s old known roofing firms.
Leeds Crown Court heard the long-established company, on Burley Road, specialised in working on listed buildings and employed 15 members of staff.
Tansey, 43, carried out the offence while working as business office manager by transferring cash from the company’s bank account into her own and forging signatures on company cheques.
The married mother-of-one was jailed for two years yesterday after pleading guilty to fraud.
The offence came to light in September last year when managing director Gary Shaw noticed that a sum of £1,240 had been paid out of the company’s bank to Tansey.
When asked about the amount Tansey said she had borrowed the money because her family needed help but intended to repay it.
Further checks were made and it was discovered 33 dishonest transactions had been made from August 2012 for sums ranging from £740 to £1,200.
Robert Galley, prosecuting, said: “There were a series of transactions where suppliers should have been paid in full but were only paid in half and the remaining half was going directly to this defendant.”
Mr Galley said four cheques had also been paid to Tansey which contained forged signatures. More than £51,000 was stolen in total.
The company’s bank account ended up being frozen and they incurred a £3,800 fine from the Inland Revenue as a result of Tansey’s actions.
Mr Galley added: “As a direct result of the defendant’s actions, the company went into liquidation.”
Tansey was arrested and told police she had taken the money due to problems at home. She said she needed to pay the mortgage and bills and provide for her family.
The court heard Tansey also stole £20,000 from the company in 2010 but her employers did not report the matter to the police.
Tansey was instead allowed to keep her job after signing an agreement to repay the money. Mr Galley said the managing director had been understanding on that occasion as there had been evidence that she was suffering from depression.
Tansey started working at the company as an office junior when she was 15 before becoming an accountant and being appointed office manager.
Graham Parkin, mitigating, said Tansey had “relationship issues” and would suffer more than most people if she was sent to prison.
He said: “It is accepted that there were steps taken to try to conceal. It is accepted that there was a previous instance which had been dealt with by members of her family and her making repayments.”
The lawyer added: “I think that the court can be assured that this lady will never be before the criminal courts again.”
Jailing Tansey, Recorder Timothy Hirst said: “The company is a small roofing business and it is my conclusion that you had a particularly significant role and were substantially trusted in that position to safeguard their affairs.”
He added: “This business has been driven into liquidation. There has been job losses and that is a very significant feature of this case.”