Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Wage clerk's fraud cost 60 people their jobs
A wages clerk who cost 60 people their jobs when she swindled her employer out of almost £50,000 has been jailed for 20 months.
Caroline Ashford, 48, was guilty of “a planned and calculated fraud” that left hospital catering company Shaw and Lisle on the brink of collapse, Bradford Crown Court heard.
Mother-of-two, Ashford, formerly of Ashlea Close, Brighouse, wept and shouted angrily as she was led to the cells yesterday.
She pleaded guilty to nine offences of fraud and one of false accounting between March 2009 and November 2010.
Prosecutor Martin Sharpe said Ashford was “a trusted and respected employee”, achieving rapid promotion to wages clerk at the firm that supplies sandwiches to hospitals and other NHS customers.
But in November, 2010 the company began an investigation into shortfalls and into why former employees were being chased by the Inland Revenue for unpaid tax.
Mr Sharpe said Ashford put the names of workers that had left back on to the payroll and diverted their wages into her bank account and those of her unsuspecting partner and relatives.
The fraud was discovered when director Simon Shaw searched Ashford’s company car and found a letter confessing her guilt and saying she was sorry.
Ashford told the police she stole after running up massive debts.
A statement from Mr Shaw said Ashford’s dishonesty had had a devastating effect on the company and there was no guarantee it would survive.
Ashford’s solicitor advocate, Mark Brookes, said she was otherwise of good character.
A decade ago, she was relatively wealthy but her husband, a chemical engineer, began a new life in Nigeria.
She took on the mortgage of the family home and ran up more than £100,000 of debt in arrears and on credit cards.
Recorder Robin Mairs told her 60 people had lost their jobs because of her when she was in a unique position of trust.