An accounts clerk at a lettings company who was recruited to sort matters out in the wake of a previous employee thieving from the firm went on to steal thousands of pounds herself, Lincoln Crown Court was told.
Janice Edwards. who was taken on by Belvoir Lettings as a replacement for the dismissed worker, pocketed almost £14,000 from rent money paid over by tenants.
Stephen Kemp, prosecuting, said: “She helped identify how much had been taken by the employee but she herself then began to take money which was paid to the company as rent by tenants.
“She would take the cash and put it in her handbag. She would then manipulate the figures on the computer in such a way that it would suggest the money had been paid into the company’s account when it had not been.”
Edwards took the cash over a period of almost two years but the thefts only came to light 14 months later when a routine audit was carried out.
Mr Kemp said: “Mrs Edwards admitted taking money and wrote a confession. She was later dismissed.”
Police were called in and when Edwards was interviewed she admitted she took cash in a bid to pay off her debts but stopped when she realised the extra money was not controlling her debts.
Edwards, 61, of Gloucester Close, Sleaford, admitted theft of £13,885 from Belvoir Lettings between January 9, 2013 and November 16, 2013. She was given a 12 month jail sentence suspended for a year with 200 hours of unpaid work. The court was told she has since repaid all of the money she stole.
Judith Brennan, defending, said Edwards had used credit cards to supplement her normal living expenses and fell into debt.
Mrs Brennan said: “It got to the position where she simply could not afford the interest payments. She did not disclose any of this to her husband until a considerable time afterwards and kept it very much to herself.
“She started offending on the basis that she could borrow some money and then be in a position to repay the company. She stopped of her own volition months before these offences came to light.”
Judge Michael Heath, passing sentence, told Edwards: “You were living beyond your means.”
He told Edwards that she had only been spared from an immediate jail sentence because she admitted the matters straight away and has since paid back the money.