A crooked bookkeeper has been jailed for nearly five years after stealing almost £200,000 from firms she worked for.
Natalie Taylor, from Crookston, had already appeared in court for embezzling cash from Lanarkshire companies when she did the same with two further employers.
She was handed a prison sentence of two years and eight months at Glasgow Sheriff Court. The next day she got another two years at Hamilton Sheriff Court which must be served consecutively.
At the city’s sheriff court, Taylor (35) admitted embezzling £88,226 from McCann Electrical in Motherwell and £37,668 from Hannah’s, a firm of sheriff officers in Glasgow, between July 2017 and August last year.
At Hamilton she pleaded guilty to a charge of taking £60,000 from cleaning products company Proficio Limited and its associated firm, Billmark LLP, in Bellshill between April and September 2015.
Callum Forsyth, prosecuting, told the Hamilton hearing Taylor had already been sacked from her Bellshill job when her thieving came to light.
He explained: “She was dismissed in September 2015 over attendance issues. The following day one of the directors got a phone call from a supplier saying there had been no payment for an invoice.
“An investigation was carried out and it was found that this payment had simply been transferred to the accused’s bank account rather than to the supplier.
“The company accountant then carried out an audit which revealed that, through the five months of her employment, Taylor had transferred sums from the companies’ bank accounts to her personal account.
“These ranged from a couple of hundred pounds to £1,900. What she did was unsophisticated but blatant.”
Taylor pleaded guilty to the Bellshill charges in March last year, but sentence was postponed repeatedly after she complained of health problems.
She was then taken into custody on the other charges and the day after she was dealt with for those Sheriff Douglas Brown was able, finally, to sentence her on the outstanding matters.
Her solicitor, Ian Scott, urged the sheriff not to add to the Glasgow sentence, suggesting a concurrent prison term could be imposed.
But Sheriff Brown told Taylor: “You were in a trusted position, with access to company bank accounts, and took advantage of that for your own personal gain.
“This was a substantial sum. Your dishonest activity was persistent and systematic in that it involved numerous transactions over five months, averaging £12,000 per month. That is indicative of a very determined course of criminal conduct.
“There was an apparent complete disregard for the 60-odd employees of the companies who could have lost their jobs had the firms been unable to survive this.
“That might well have happened had the directors not had access to further funds.
“As it was, four employees had to be made redundant as a direct result of your criminal activity. A substantial sentence is appropriate in the circumstances.”