Accountant told to pay up or face jail

A book-keeper who was spared jail after stealing over £42,000 from a friend’s one-man business at Horseheath near Haverhill has sold her house to pay him back and has now been ordered to hand over £35,629.

And she has been told that if she does not pay then she will end up in prison after all. A judge ruled that if she does not hand over the money she faces 12 months prison.

Angela Watt, 49, of Main Street, Little Humby, near Grantham had pleaded guilty to ten specimen charges of false accounting and last November was given a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for two years with 250 hours unpaid work by Cambridge Crown Court.

Watt, who had her own accountancy business, was working for family friend Steven Giles Flooring Ltd, of Horseheath hamlet, near Haverhill, Cambridgeshire. But he became puzzled in April 2011 about why his business was not making the expected profit.

Watt, a wife and mother of two, pleaded guilty to ten offences between 19 December 2008 and 28 May 2011 of falsifying computerised accounting systems by omitting that payments had been made to various bank accounts. The sums ranged from £1,450 to £3,112.

A further 23 unauthorised payments came to light which put the total loss at £42,846.91.

In November the court heard that Watt had sold the family home and kept back £30,000 to repay Mr Giles. She had already reimbursed £4,015. The family now lived in rented accommodation.

At last week’sconfiscation on Friday Judge Hawkesworth ruled that Watt had obtained £38,831 from her criminal conduct and that she had realisable assets of £35,629.

The court heard that the money was in a solicitor’s account and could be paid within 21 days to Mr Giles as compensation.

If it is not, Watt is liable to a 12 month prison sentence in default.