'Greedy' accountant stole £35k from employer while colleagues lost their jobs
21.11.2023 - 14:13
An accountant who stole more than £35,000 from her employer gifted large cash sums to her family before her ruse was uncovered. Sarah Cunningham's actions ‘left a trail of destruction’ which resulted in at least five other members of staff being made redundant due the financial loss.
The 41-year-old had been working for Velo Systems for less than a month when she first transferred money from the business into an account she had set up. Just five minutes after being questioned about the missing money by a colleague, Cunningham said her mum had been 'rushed into hospital after suffering a stroke' and she had to leave work.
Despite a judge ruling that her actions had been driven, in part, by ‘greed, the mum was spared a jail sentence at Manchester Crown Court due to currently undergoing treatment for cervical cancer. Business owner, Aria Taheri, told the court he stumped up £50,000 of his own money to try to save the company - but was ultimately forced to sell it at a loss.
The court heard that Cunningham had access to the company's banking system, but could not make payments without prior approval in her role. Prosecutor Robin Kitching said she set up an account which had a similar name to another company which Velo Systems worked with, the Manchester Evening News reports.
She made the first payment on April 29, 2019, moving £4,550 from the company account. Cunningham made a further eight payments over six days, with the final payment being made on May 20, 2019.
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By that time, she had transferred a total of £35,810.10 from the company account, Mr Kitching said. Cunningham was asked about the payments by Velo Systems'