A Knaresborough woman who defrauded not one, but two employers out of thousands of pounds has walked free from court.
Janet Eggleton, 48, was said not only to have caused the owners of the companies a great deal of trouble, but to have potentially, for a time, placed the jobs of some local people in jeopardy through her actions.
Eggleton, of Sovereign Fold, appeared before York Crown Court on Friday (October 26) for sentencing, having previously admitted two charges of fraud by abuse of a position of trust.
Christopher Smith, prosecuting, told how, within a month of starting work as financial administrator on a salary of £27,000 for the family firm of APC in 2008, Eggleton began syphoning company funds into her own bank account.
In March 2011 the owners realized there were discrepancies and, because of her position, Eggleton was called into a meeting with the firm’s accountant.
However, Eggleton claimed to be suddenly unwell, left the meeting and never returned to work.
It was some time before the full extent of the fraud against the company - over £16,500 - was uncovered because of the poor state Eggleton had left the books in.
However, in the meantime, Eggleton obtained employment as £21,000 per annum finance manager for another local firm, The Audit Partnership, another family owned firm, and began again taking money from them - this time over £36,000.
Mr Smith said that the total amount defrauded by Eggleton was £52,724.25.
Michael Bosomworth, mitigating, told the court that as a result of problems in her childhood his client suffered from a rare condition, not having any self-esteem and feeling the need to buy clothes and gifts in an attempt to impress and make others like her.
This had resulted in Eggleton running up high credit card debts, but she did not tell her husband about them, or explain the bags of clothes stored all over their home because she felt unable to wear the same outfit twice.
The court heard that the condition had been confirmed by a psychiatrist and a psychologist, along with the fact that Eggleton has a hereditary digestive complaint and is bordering on being anorexic.
Mr Bosomworth said that her conditions were treatable, but could cause problems not only for his client but also for the authorities if she was jailed.
He added that since the matters had come to light Eggleton had used an inheritance, and her husband the couple’s life savings, to repay all the money.
Describing the frauds as “blatant”, The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, told Eggleton that it had been a “very close run thing” between an immediate and a suspended prison sentence, but “exceptionally” he was prepared to follow the latter course.
Eggleton was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years and placed under 12 months supervision.
She was also ordered to co mplete 300 hours of unpaid work - the maximum possible, take part in a specified activities requirement with the Harrogate Womens’ Project, and pay £250 costs.