Woman jailed for stealing thousands of pounds from Sheffield firm

A Sheffield woman has been jailed for stealing thousands of pounds from her employer, through a 'sophisticated' invoice plan she put into motion mere hours after being hired.
A Sheffield woman has been jailed for stealing thousands of pounds from her employer, through a 'sophisticated' invoice plan she put into motion mere hours after being hired.
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A Sheffield woman has been jailed for stealing thousands of pounds from her employer, through a 'sophisticated' invoice plan she put into action just hours after being hired.

Chelsea Thompson had been put on placement at Urban Owners Limited (UOL) by recruitment agency Office Angels for less than a day when she first stole from the property management company, Sheffield Crown Court was told.

Prosecuting, Neil Coxon, explained that when Thompson, of Oaks Fold Road, Shiregreen started work at the company in a finance role on June 1, 2015 she was given the login details of a former employee.

It was using those details that she changed the bank details of a company due to be paid a sum of £761.60 by Urban Office Ltd to hers later that day.

The sum of money was paid into her account four days later.

Mr Coxon said that 'in order to cover her tracks' the 27-year-old then created a new account for another company that used UOL's services and invoiced them for the same amount as the payment she had directed into her own bank account.

Her temporary employment with UOL concluded on June 19, and on July 13 the company hired her as a permanent member of staff, which lasted until July 17 when her offending came to light.

During her two terms of employment with the company, Thompson stole a sum of around £4,500 using a similar method to put through six invoices from a number of different companies managed by UOL.

UOL discovered Thompson's theft from the company on July 17, when a company she made failed attempts to transfer money from contacted UOL concerning the unsuccessful transactions that were flagged up by their bank.

Should the transfers have been successful, the amount stolen by Thompson would have been as much as £11,500.

Thompson's claim that the transactions were unintentional and came about as a result of bank details being changed weeks earlier before she changed her mind about further offending was rejected by Recorder Fiona Davies, who presided over the case.

UOL director, Steve Wiley, told the court through a victim personal statement that Thompson's actions had financially impacted the company and had left staff in their Sheffield office feeling 'very shocked and let down'.

Less than a week after her offending was discovered by UOL, Thompson was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, during a hearing at Sheffield Crown Court for a charge of conspiracy to commit fraud after she and her husband admitted to making nine false claims to a pet insurance company for an amount totaling £9,000.

Defending, Zaiban Alam, said Thompson had not stolen the money to fund a lavish lifestyle but as a result of the impact of fertility issues she was suffering from.

Ms Alam said: "She applied for IVF on the NHS but this was rejected on weight and health grounds, and that triggered her offending.

"She started gambling and it was suggested to her as a way of making money [to fund IVF treatment]."

Thompson pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud at an earlier hearing, and has repaid £385 of the money she stole from UOS.

Sentencing Thompson to nine-months in prison, Recorder Davies described her plan to steal from UOS as 'sophisticated'.

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