'You could not resist the temptation': Crooked business manager helped herself to £41,000 while in charge of finances at Leeds lighting company

A business manager helped herself to £41,000 from company accounts after she was entrusted to look after the finances of a lighting firm.

By Tony Gardner
Friday, 2nd July 2021, 6:19 am

Jacqueline Coverdale carried out the offending while working for Leeds-based Apollo Lighting between December 2018 and October 2019.

Ayesha Smart, prosecuting, said Coverdale began working at the company as an accounts officer before being promoted to business manager.

One 44 occasions over the ten-month period of offending, Coverdale transferred money from the firm's account into her personal account.

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Leeds Crown Court

The offending came to light after an auditor carried out an investigation.

The company manager spoke to Coverdale after it was discovered that £34,000 had been transferred into her account.

Coverdale said she considered the money to have been a loan and claimed she could repay the sum from her pension fund.

Days later Coverdale managed to obtain a further £9,000.

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The outstanding amount has still not been repaid.

Coverdale, 57, of West Bank, Carlton, Selby, pleaded guilty to theft.

Mohammed Ayaz Qazi, mitigating, said Coverdale is a single mother and took the money to support her family.

He added: "That does not justify resorting to criminal offending."

The barrister said the money had not been used to fund a luxury lifestyle.

Mr Qazi added: "She found it hard to disentangle the concept of the difference between a loan and theft."

Judge Andrew Stubbs QC replied: "The difference is that if it's a loan, the person knows that the money is being taken. With theft they do not. She is an intelligent woman."

The court heard Coverdale had managed to obtain a job as a bookkeeper for another company but had not told her new employer about the theft conviction.

Judge Stubbs said: "I am very concerned that you have obtained a very similar position which places you once again in a position of trust and that is why I asked you to give evidence as to whether you were going to tell your employer of your criminal offence."

Coverdale was given a 19-month sentence, suspended for two years.

She was also ordered to complete ten rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Describing the offending, Judge Stubbs said: "You were trusted with the bank account and finances of the company and that trust was significantly misplaced.

"In the position that you found yourself in, you could not resist the temptation of topping up your wages to augment your lifestyle.

"The only person you were thinking about when you took it on 44 separate occasions was you."