A former office accounts manager who embezzled almost £30,000 from the scaffolding firm she worked for has been spared a jail sentence.
Instead, Karen Cromar was ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work as part of a three-year, supervised community payback order.
Cromar, 40, of St Martin Avenue, Dundee, was also ordered to pay compensation to the firm of £5,000, which Sheriff Elizabeth Munro said “doesn’t touch what you embezzled but at least it’s a gesture”.
Cromar had previously admitted that, between July 13 2011 and July 23 2012, at IAS Dundee Ltd, Tom Johnstone Road and Lloyds TSB, Meadowside, while employed as office/accounts manager, she embezzled £28,347.41.
She had originally been charged with embezzling £54,903.41, however that figure was reduced following a lengthy period of plea bargaining between the Crown and her solicitor, Gary McIlravey.
After admitting her guilt, the court heard Cromar had spent the money on her lavish lifestyle. She earned £24,000 a year but was living the high life using the company credit card to finance shopping trips and paying vast sums of cash into her own bank accounts under the name of fictitious suppliers.
Sentence had been deferred until Thursday as Mr McIlravey said there were some parts of the Crown’s narration of events which Cromar took issue with, mainly in relation to the effect the loss had had on the business.
However, the issues were resolved prior to the case calling and depute fiscal Vicki Bell told the court the embezzlement had caused a short-term cashflow problem and the company had only been saved by an injection of cash from owner Steve Reilly’s wife.
Sheriff Munro told Cromar: “Embezzlement at this level would normally automatically attract a prison sentence, but there are other circumstances I have to take account of.
“You are a first offender and there are other sentences which are appropriate.”
Company owner Steve Reilly expressed his anger at the outcome.
He told The Courier: “This sentence is absolutely shocking the whole thing was disgusting from the start.
“I can’t believe she has only got to pay back £5,000. It’s ridiculous she should have gone to jail.
“She tried to destroy the company and she hasn’t shown any remorse at all.”
Mr Reilly earlier told The Courier that the entire future of his firm had been put at risk by her dishonesty.
Cromar had originally been charged with embezzling £54,903.41.
However, that figure was reduced at court after a lengthy period of plea bargaining between the Crown and her solicitor.