A HYDE woman who played a key part in the defrauding of a company to the tune of about £70,000 has been ordered to return cash.
Fiona Kerr was made subject of a compensation order at a Proceeds of Crime hearing at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court.
The 37-year-old, of Market Street, must now pay back £10 a week for three years after she and Carl Hestford were found to have taken the money from Failsworth-based Carousel Soft Furnishing Limited.
The 41-year-old initially denied the offences of fraud by abuse of position and money laundering, but eventually did plead guilty alongside Kerr to both, and they were handed two-year suspended prison sentences at Minshull Street in April.
Their deception came to light at the end of 2016, when a customer wanted a refund from a purchase.
The company director then became aware that the pair had set up a false PayPal account, and were siphoning off funds. It’s believed around £70,000 was taken in total.
At the hearing today (Thursday, July 29), Hestford, of Culcheth, Cheshire, was ordered to pay £38,258.40 in full, or go to jail.
He was given three months to return the money or face a six-month prison sentence. He would still be liable to pay the money upon his release.
Financial Investigations Manager Ben Evans, from Greater Manchester Police’s Economic and Cyber Crime Section, said: “We’re very pleased with today’s Proceeds of Crime ruling, and hopefully this sends a powerful message that all criminal actions do have consequences.
“Often, taking away the money and the lifestyle that criminals crave, stings much more than sending them to prison.
“Both Hestford and Kerr were in positions of trust that they abused for their own gain, and I hope this sends a warning to anyone considering criminal behaviour, that not only will we do everything in our power to secure a conviction, but that you will have to pay back ill-gotten gains.
“While we are pleased with today’s result, we are aware that fighting fraud is relentless. We will continue to work diligently to remove criminal proceeds from the hands of those who seek to profit from criminality, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the public for continuing to support our work by sharing information. If you see something, or suspect anything, say something – and we can do something about it.”