Worker must repay £18k swindled from bosses

Sessions House, Preston
Sessions House, Preston
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A worker who defrauded a small Lancashire firm by tens of thousands of pounds is to lose her share in her home, a court has ruled.

Judge Michael Leeming QC, sitting at Sessions House court in Preston, ordered disgraced ex-payroll worker Jill Cunningham to pay back £18,250 of her ill gotten gains.

She will have to sell her share in house to fulfill it.

Judger Leeming said: “There will be £18,250 to pay or you will serve seven months in prison in default.”

The Proceeds of Crime Act hearing came after she received a 12 month jail term suspended for two years, after admitting defrauding her employers Signbuild Ltd, based in Red Scar, Longridge Road, Preston.

She was also ordered to do 200 hours work.

A previous hearing was told she overpaid herself a total of £21,722.20 by paying herself invoices for her wage that were “gross overpayments”.

Married Cunningham, 54, now of Hatton Gardens, London, carried out the fraud over a period between October 2013 and July 2014, Preston Crown Court heard.

Cunningham, who was originally employed by an agency, was taken on at the company, which manufactures digital signage and employs 18 people.

She worked as an administration employee in charge of payroll and supplier payments.

The court heard she was “expected to safeguard the financial interests of the firm” but dishonestly abused her position.

Prosecuting, Alex Orndal said there was also a incident where a duplicate invoice was paid to its original destination - an also to herself.

Judge Leeming heard there was “£18,250 available from her assets - her property - which would have to be sold.

The company declined to comment.