Black Country cashier who stole £165,000 from solicitor's firm ordered to pay back just £21,738 (From Halesowen News)
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Black Country cashier who stole £165,000 from solicitor's firm ordered to pay back just £21,738
9:00am Monday 9th September 2013 in News
A WOMAN who stole over £165,000 from the Black Country solicitor's firm where she was head cashier has been ordered to pay back just £21,738.
Pauline Sutcliffe, aged 58, had worked in her trusted position for nine years for Stables and Co which went into liquidation last year when the partners were declared bankrupt and they lost their licence to practice.
She went to police and confessed she had been stealing on a regular basis from the company taking an average of £200 a week which increased on occasions to £1,000 and she used her knowledge of the books to cover up her criminality.
Sutcliffe, of Wolverhampton Road, Oldbury, admitted stealing £165,754 from the firm, which had offices in Halesowen Stourbridge and Rowley Regis, and she was jailed for 14 months in June.
She was brought back before Wolverhampton Crown Court to face a Proceeds of Crime Hearing when Laura Culley, prosecuting, said her only asset was a share of the family home.
Miss Culley told Judge Michael Dudley agreement had been made after checking on property prices in the area that Sutcliffe's share of the equity on the house would be £21,738.
The Judge then made a confiscation order in that amount and told Sutcliffe it must be paid in the next six months or she would have to stay behind bars for another year.
He ruled the money should go to the Solicitors Compensation Fund because Stables and Co no longer existed.
The court was told at the earlier hearing that Sutcliffe's criminality was not behind the demise of the firm and had she not gone to the police they would have known nothing about the thefts.
When interviewed by officers she said she had succumbed to temptation and the money she took was for everyday bills and general household expenses. There was no lavish living and no luxury items.