A ‘devious’ fraudster swindled more than £55,000 and splashed thousands of pounds on B&Q orders. Finance manager Yvette Newton – described as an ‘outstanding mother, wife and daughter’ – stole from the contracting firm she worked for.
‘Highly manipulative’ Newton, 54, of Pennine Vale, Shaw, was jailed for 16 months at Minshull Street Crown Court today after admitting fraud by abuse of position. She left bosses ‘horrified’ and ‘sick’ after stealing from TMJ Contractors, in Ashton-under-Lyne, over a five-year period.
The court heard Newton began transferring money from the company accounts, disguising a string of payments to her own bank account as going to payees and contractors.
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Between September 8, 2015, and August 16, 2020, Newton spent a total of £55,309.23 from the company, the court was told.
During her time working for the contracting firm, where she was earning £33,000 a year, she transferred £17,485.70 to her own Santander bank account, as well as a further £11,539.49 to a Nationwide account, also in her name. She also moved £6,213.97 to her unsuspecting daughter’s account de ella, £611 into her husband’s account and then £1,948.98 on unauthorized wage additions or expenses.
As well as this, money was funneled to be spent on various unauthorized expenses, including a skip hire, a DVLA payment for her husband’s car, over £5,000 in non-business purchases at B&Q, which included buying a lawn mower and dehumidifier and over £5,000 in unexplained cash withdrawals.
Prosecuting, Thomas Worsfield told the court that her actions were first flagged by her employers on August 21, 2020, when managing director Daniel and operations director wife noticed there were a number of “irregular payments made from the company’s bank account to unexpected recipients, such as Nissan, North Face and Lansdowne Motors.”
He said: “Investigations revealed the defendant had adopted a practice of allowing payments on the company’s account with repayment supposedly through wages.
“On occasion, legitimate payments would be made to payees. This method was designed to conceal her fraudulent practice of her.
The court also heard how Newton used a company fuel card to pay for her and her husband’s fuel and to make payments of a further £4,945.54 through a trade account called Trade UK Web Portal.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, company operations director Natalie Taylor said it was ‘deeply upsetting and horrifying’ to learn of the ‘complexities of the deceit.’ She added: “I’ll never forget how sick I felt, seeing transaction after transaction and the total money she took grow by thousands and thousands.”
Defending, Adam White said Newton had found new employment and has ‘taken steps to get her finances back on track’ after finding herself in an ‘unmanageable financial position’.
He said: “She accepts she was using the company to subsidize her own living expenses after she had gotten herself into an unmanageable financial position. She was not funding a lavish lifestyle, but not using the money just to pay for the bare necessities either and she was living beyond her means of her.
“When we look at the amount of money taken in comparison with the company’s turnover, it is not quite as significant.
“Her daughter and husband played no part in this, and they were shocked and surprised to hear about what had happened. It is apparent from her references to her, this was extremely out of character for her.
Judge John Edwards gave Newton credit for her guilty plea, but sentenced her to 16 months behind bars, for which she must serve at least half before being eligible for release.
“You are a lady of unblemished character. I have read with care the references which have been submitted on your behalf, describing you as an outstanding mother, wife and daughter,” he said.
“The irony of those observations are not lost on me. You enjoyed a good salary as finance manager and were in a position of trust, yet just three months after you were taken on, you were deviating money into no fewer than four different bank accounts .
“You and your family were shown friendship and generosity from the Taylors, but it was reciprocated in the worst possible way. Your actions were devious, highly manipulative and sophisticated.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.