£300,000 had been stolen from the business account and all suspicion was pointing to Wendy Dillingham the lady in the accounts department. She was the only one with access to the banking system, and when she had being challenged about the missing money; she left her home and had gone into hiding.
Our client’s initial reaction was to report the crime to the Police, but somewhat surprisingly they had no interest – it was our client’s solicitor who recommended getting in touch with us.
The following day, two of our fraud investigators arrived at the office and commenced the investigation. Over the next three days statements of evidence were obtained, the computer system was forensically examined, evidence was preserved and exhibits secured. This was all done in accordance with current Police methods of investigation, in other words we had a Police file.
The investigation showed Dillingham had been stealing money for her own benefit including a high-value vehicle purchase, several holidays, including a trip to Lapland with her grandchildren and buying thousands of pounds worth of photography equipment for her son in order to set him up in business. The forensic examination also proved she was seeking to buy a post office in the south-west of England.
It was proven that she had pulled the statements up from their online banking system, dragged them into word documentation and then changed the figures she had stolen to correlate with the genuine figures that should be in the account. She would then zip the file and send it to the company owner who clearly saw and thought he had the genuine amount of funds in his account.
After three days of investigation the file was taken to the Police. A full file was handed to the Police and the only line of enquiry left was to arrest the employee, conduct a formal interview and submit the file to the CPS.
It took the Police six months to arresting the employee. There was a multitude of excuses and reasons as to why it took so long, but at least the client was in a strong and comfortable position, knowing that all the evidence had been preserved and secured and despite the long time in the arrest the evidence was still able to be put to her and submitted as a criminal file.
When the employee was eventually arrested with the compelling evidence she had no option but to plead guilty in court.
From the submission of our file it took over 3 ½ years to arrest and prosecute Dillingham.
Dillingham, from Evesham, admitted to theft, fraud and false accounting. Worcester Crown Court sentenced her to serve 5 years in prison.