Bristol Audi woman Amy Bray stole to pay for boob job
AN assistant accountant who stole £16,000 from Bristol Audi so she could treat herself to a boob job and trip to Europe has avoided prison by a "whisker".
Amy Bray was said to be under financial pressures after a relationship break-up and stole the money by creative accounting, Bristol Crown Court heard.
She doctored financial records to disguise missing funds and also forged two cheques to herself, but was found out when a customer asked for a £1,000 deposit back, which she had pocketed.
Bray, 26, of Emet Grove in Emersons Green, pleaded guilty to nine counts of fraud. On Friday Judge Geoffrey Mercer QC handed her eight months' prison, suspended for a year, with 120 hours' unpaid work and specified activity for ten days.
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The judge told her: "You were within a whisker of going to prison today."
Bray told him: "I will pay it back as soon as I find work."
Richard Shepherd, prosecuting, said Bray worked in Bristol Audi's financial accounting team from 2007, with access to the "money in" ledger and accounts system.
Mr Shepherd told the court Bray devised a way to remove money from the business without the system flagging up shortfalls.
He said: "It came to light when one customer asked for the return of a £1,000 deposit. It appeared that £1,000 had been returned to him. Further investigation took place and this defendant's unique identification was found, it was traced back to her and it had been paid to her bank account."
Bray was arrested and interviewed and said she had been "fitted up" due to a grievance with a manager, Mr Shepherd said.
Further investigation revealed that, as well as spiriting away £6,500 from the business, she forged her manager's signature to write herself two cheques worth £4,500 and £5,000.
When re-arrested and re-interviewed, Bray claimed the two cheques were "off the books bonuses" she was entitled to.
Mr Shepherd said: "No such payments were authorised. This was theft. This was greed and nothing else."
He told the court: "During the relevant period the defendant underwent cosmetic surgery and a trip to Europe totalling £5,800. The Crown is satisfied this was stolen money enjoyed, rather than stolen money used for more pressing purposes."
James Haskell, defending, said: "They weren't very sophisticated thefts. The internal system was not as robust as it ought to have been.
"This was undertaken relatively simply and without detection for a significant period of time."
Mr Haskell said his client, who has an NVQ in accountancy, lost her £18,000-a-year job as a result.
He said: "She was under significant pressure at the time, following the breakdown of a relationship.
"She is genuinely ashamed. She is genuinely remorseful. She knows, as a result of her stupid behaviour, she has tainted her good name and brought shame on her family."
Mr Haskell said his client hoped to find a new job and pay the money back, and was a bright woman who could have a bright future.