Greedy Sunderland temp used company credit cards to pay for holidays

A greedy temp used her employer's credit card running up bills of more than £6,000 to pay for luxuries including holidays.

Tuesday, 24th May 2016, 5:00 am
Mayfield Engineering

Naomi Lane, 24, plundered the coffers of family-run Mayfield Engineering in Washington, after they took her on for temporary holiday cover last summer, Sunderland magistrates heard.

She was at the company for less than two days but started to help herself by placing online orders for goods and holidays using the business’s credit cards.

The court heard she even paid for groceries and car insurance with company funds.

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Prosecutor Paul Doney said the Crowther Industrial Estate-based firm’s accounts manager, Diane Scott, had carried out an initial investigation when she suspected fraud in relation to the company bank cards.

He said Lane had been supplied by Reed Specialist Recruitment on July 15, to cover for a member of staff on leave.

“The intention was to employ her for a few months. However, after a day and a half, she was deemed not suitable for the business’s needs.”

Mr Doney said the company had three Lloyds bank cards for business needs.

“During the defendant’s brief time with the company she had physical possession of two of the cards so that she could book accommodation for staff working away,” he said.

Mr Doney said 55 unauthorised transactions – totalling £6,019.42 – were discovered between August 3 and September 15, last year.

“Following a number of enquiries the owners contacted Miss Lane via telephone on September 16,” Mr Doney said.

Lane professed her innocence and claimed the card numbers must have stored on her iPhone and she had used them to place orders by mistake.

The following day, she attended company premises with her child, again claiming a technical error was to blame.

She then changed her story to say a third party had been responsible.

Lane, of Pickhurst Road, Pennywell, eventually pleaded guilty to fraud. The charge stated that she made a false representation, by using credit cards not in her name online, “intending to make a gain, namely home groceries, holidays, vehicle insurance and other items”.

Elisabeth Dunbar, defending, said Lane has mental health problems, two children and is pregnant.

“This involved pressure from another person. She believes some of that money was recovered, because some of the transactions didn’t go through as some items were not delivered.”

Miss Dunbar added: “This is a serious offence because it’s a breach of trust and a significant sum is involved.”

She was sentenced to a 14-month community order and was told to carry out 80 hours’ unpaid work, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £60 and £40 costs.

Mayfield Engineering declined to comment.