Woman, 47, who stole over £200,000 from her employer in a ‘deluded’ ploy to buy her boyfriend’s love with a lavish lifestyle is jailed for three years and four months
- Stephanie Long stole just over £214,000 while working for B&M Waste Services
- Company discovered missing funds when they switched to new account system
- Liverpool Crown Court heard Long had been trying to buy partner’s affections
- Long was jailed for three years and four months for fraud by abuse of position
Stephanie Long has been jailed for three years and four months after stealing more than £214,000 from B&M Waste Services
A woman stole hundreds of thousands of pounds from her employer in a ‘deluded’ ploy to impress her boyfriend with a lavish lifestyle.
Stephanie Long was jailed today after stealing just over £214,000 from B&M Waste Services over a four year period.
Her role as a purchasing and ledger manager saw her trusted to pay the company’s contractors and handle accounts but she abused that position then used the money she stole for holidays and to go shopping.
Liverpool Crown Court heard she began the campaign of theft in April 2016 and spent the money making her new partner believe she had more money than she did.
She began to steal from B&M shortly after being hired and the payments went unnoticed until February last year.
Long’s deceit was revealed after company bosses announced plans to shift the company’s accounts management on to a new system.
When asked to assist with this, the court heard Long became ‘belligerent’ and aggressive to the point of being threatened with disciplinary action.
She was offered a severance package of just under £9,000 soon after but just a week after leaving the company, other workers started to spot fraudulent payments to a bank account.
The 47-year-old attempted to destroy evidence of her theft by shredding invoices on the day she left but forensic accountants soon uncovered payments to an account that was later linked to her.
Ember-Jade Wong, prosecuting, said the fraud had a devastating impact on B&M and its employees.
She said it was expected to incur a further £120,000 in losses in addition to the money stolen by Long and the money it had to spend to investigate and remedy the problem.
A business impact statement read out by Ms Wong in court this morning said many existing employees of the company had faced huge stress in the aftermath of the case and said its reputation with suppliers had been badly damaged.
Liverpool Crown Court (pictured) heard Long, who said she was deeply sorry, stole the money in a bid to paint the picture of a lavish lifestyle in order to buy the affections of her new partner
Defending, Natalia Cornwall said Long was deeply sorry for her actions and said she had been driven by a destructive desire to impress a new partner.
Ms Cornwall said: ‘She was in what she described as a particularly toxic relationship and said that she felt demeaned, belittled and emotionally abused.
‘Her way of dealing with that was effectively to portray a life of having a successful job and a significant amount of money, in effect to buy his love.
‘She accepts now that she was deluded in thinking that way but, as is so often the case, this started small before the fraud snowballed and became out of control.
She added that Long recognised she would be going to prison and was determined to use the time to address a number of negative influences in her life, including her alcoholism.
The exact details of how Long spent all the stolen cash were not revealed to the court today but Ms Wong said it included family holidays, shopping, veterinary bills and debt repayments.
Jailing Long, Recorder Ian Harris told Long the ‘scale and audacity’ of her greed overcame any factors that may have reduced her sentence substantially.
He said: ‘There is simply no alternative to the custodial sentence which I have given you.
‘I hope, but I do not know, whether you have the assets available to assist the company in the future.’
The court will consider confiscation orders and any financial contributions that Long, of Dingle, may be ordered to pay in the coming months.
Long was jailed for three years and four months after pleading guilty to fraud by abuse of position.
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