Kettering payroll manager gave herself 20 weeks' worth of extra wages, court hears

A woman who accidentally paid herself twice carried on doing so after she wasn't caught out by her employers.

Friday, 6th January 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 12:01 pm
General view of Wellingborough Magistrates Court, Midland Road. ENGNNL00120130429123958

Amy Fantom, 33, of Kingsley Avenue, Kettering, faced magistrates on Wednesday (January 4) after pleading guilty to stealing £7,589.79 from the now-defunct G R P Designs.

Fantom had worked for the double glazing installers as an office manager and was in charge of payroll, prosecutor Kwok Wan told Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court.

He said: “Part of her duties included paying employees of the firm, dealing with VAT returns and general office tasks.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Fantom initially paid herself twice by mistake on a single occasion but failed to notify anyone.

Over a period of time she then paid herself 80 weeks’ wages rather than 60, Mr Wan told the court.

Fantom was caught after the company’s managing director received a call from HMRC saying the firm owed money.

After looking into paperwork, Fantom’s actions soon became clear.

She resigned immediately and the company, which was based in Britannia Road, went into voluntary liquidation in October - something the bosses blamed on Fantom.

But Caroline McGann, mitigating for Fantom, disputed this.

She said: “I do feel slightly aggrieved that a representation has been made that this is the case.

“We would say that bad management and bad directorship has caused this.”

The court heard that Fantom, who now works as an assistant finance officer, used the funds to ease hardship and was “mortified” by her actions.

Miss McGann said: “It is [a case of] burying her head in the sand.

“It was highly unsophisticated. She was paying it all into the same bank account.

“Unfortunately it became a habit.

“This is a lady who will never be before the court again.

“She is mortified by her actions.

“Because of this guilty plea she has lost everything.”

Fantom was handed a six-month community order and made the subject of an electronic curfew.

She must also pay compensation of £7,589.79 to G R P Designs, a victim surcharge of £85 and costs of £85.

Sentencing, chairman of the bench Amy Crawfurd said: “This was a clear breach of trust.

“But you have shown remorse and you have fully co-operated.

“We have to say you are in a very difficult position.

“You will have a lot of thinking to do in the future.”