Mother-of-two stole £700,000 from her boss to gamble online

1 year ago

A greedy mother-of-two who stole nearly £700,000 from her boss to gamble online has avoided jail after her defence team argued she would catch Covid-19 behind bars and die.

Accounts assistant Sandra Greaves, 61, used her heart condition and COPD to say she would be ‘particularly susceptible’ to the virus if she went to jail.

Over the course of three years Greaves siphoned off up to £26,000 a day to fund her online gambling habit, paying off outstanding company invoices with some of her winnings, but when she was caught she asked for a £250 a month pay rise to ‘replace’ the cash.  

Sandra Greaves, seen leaving Minshull Street Crown Court, stole up to £26,000 from Mockridge's in Greater Manchester to fund her online gambling habit

Sandra Greaves, seen leaving Minshull Street Crown Court, stole up to £26,000 from Mockridge’s in Greater Manchester to fund her online gambling habit

Greaves avoided jail after her defence solicitor claimed: 'incarceration could prove fatal,' due to the effect Covid-19 could have on her heart disease and COPD

Greaves avoided jail after her defence solicitor claimed: ‘incarceration could prove fatal,’ due to the effect Covid-19 could have on her heart disease and COPD

The thefts went on even though her boss Mike Mockridge, 82, who is the owner a successful label and nameplate manufacturing firm in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, 자동차보험 gave her interest free loans and offered to pay for a new boiler when she complained of bouts of ill health.

Some of the money was refunded – including £23,000 from Greaves herself – and invoices paid but the total loss to Mr Mockridge’s firm was £105,000.

In a statement the businessman, who employs 47 people but is who currently in hospital with severe stress, said: ‘As a result of these thefts, the goal of the company has become survival.’ 

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Greaves, from Ashton-under-Lyne who was said to have a ‘chronic gambling addiction’ admitted theft but escaped with an 18 month prison term, suspended for two years. 

Former colleagues of Greaves said they 'sceptical about the extent of her health problems' after she arrived at Minshull Street Crown Court without wearing a mask

Former colleagues of Greaves said they ‘sceptical about the extent of her health problems’ after she arrived at Minshull Street Crown Court without wearing a mask 

Judge John Edwards told Greaves he was following Covid-19 related legal guidelines and told her: ‘We are living in strange and 다이렉트 자동차 보험보험 dangerous times and were I to send you to prison which you richly deserve, the repercussions could be dire.

‘You have serious health problems and 다이렉트 자동차보험 are deemed by doctors a high risk patient who is particularly susceptible to Covid 19.

But I want to you to know that is the only reason I’m not sending you to prison.

‘But for that Covid-19 crisis you would be jailed. There’s nothing to thank me for because you should be going to prison. Small businesses like this can ill afford the indulgence of dishonest employees in whom they place great trust.’ 

When Greaves was caught out by her company, she asked for a £250 pay rise to 'replace' the cash she had stolen between 2016 and 2018

When Greaves was caught out by her company, she asked for a £250 pay rise to ‘replace’ the cash she had stolen between 2016 and 2018

The thefts occurred between January 2016 and August 2018 after Greaves joined the staff of Mockridge Labels and Nameplates Ltd in 2004. 

Philip Hall prosecuting said: ‘Sandra Greaves was trusted with unrestricted access to the company bank account in order to undertake her role of managing and making payments to suppliers and was trusted with a Bankline Card and Bankline Card Machine which allowed her unchecked freedom to transfer money from the company bank account.

‘During her employment there were several occasions where her health issues were exacerbated due to her financial constraints and the company stepped in to provide support and personal assistance including, 자동차 보험 allowing extended periods of leave, providing zero interest loans, and assistance to install a new boiler at her home.’

The court heard Greaves stole up to £700,000 despite being given financial help from her boss

The court heard Greaves stole up to £700,000 despite being given financial help from her boss

The investigation began in August 2018 when Greaves was on holiday and Mr Mockridge was contacted by a supplier who said there were outstanding invoices which meant they could no longer provide any more goods. 

Mr Hall added: ‘Sandra Greaves later explained she had stolen the money to fund her gambling addiction and that she hoped to repay the money before anyone had noticed.

Following her dismissal she provided a handwritten letter addressed to Mr Mockridge in which she said she was deeply sorry’and explained that she loved her job and the people at the company.

‘She asked to be reinstated with a pay rise of £250 a month to allow her to repay the company.’   

The mother of two was handed an 18 month prison sentence, suspended for two years

The mother of two was handed an 18 month prison sentence, 자동차보험추천 suspended for two years

In mitigation Miss Andrea Lock said her client had co-operated with the investigation from her hospital bed and added: ‘She is genuinely remorseful and while the conclusion of her letter contains a rather misguided request, the court is asked to accept the letter as evidence of both her remorse and fragile mental health.

Her health conditions are so serious that such incarceration could prove fatal.’

But after the case John Butler, human resources manager for Mockridges called for the suspended sentence to be appealed.

He said: ‘We are incensed at this sentence and wonder what message this out.

‘We actually believe Sandra took over £667,000 from our accounts to play online casino games and and the reason this fraud went on so long was because she was a lucky gambler and was able to pay some of her suppliers out of her winnings.

‘We were expecting she would get at least three years in jail for what she did.

Staff have seen her out and about without a face covering on so we’re even sceptical about the extent of her health problems too. 

‘The way she has betrayed us like this is heartbreaking.’