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Gambling addict jailed after embezzling £210,000 from north-east firm

Louise Myles.
Louise Myles.

An office manager broke down in the dock as she was jailed for embezzling more than £200,000 from her work to feed her gambling addiction.

Louise Myles, who admitted making more than 1,000 fraudulent transactions over nearly four years, had handled property management firm BMF Group’s finances and bookkeeping since 2012.

And yesterday the 42-year-old was sentenced to 18 months in prison at Aberdeen Sheriff Court for taking a total of £210,000 from the Huntly-based company between May 2013 and July 2017.

None of the six-figure sum was able to be recovered.

Her deception was only discovered when the director of the company, Alexander Morison, found some unpaid bills and noticed others had been paid to an account he didn’t recognise.

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Louise Myles, was sentenced to 18 months for embezzlement.

He was subsequently contacted by the Bank of Scotland and informed “questionable payments” totalling £20,000 had been made. The court heard he confronted Myles about it and she admitted taking the cash, claiming she was suffering from a gambling addiction.

However, the full extent of Myles’ deception was only revealed once bosses chose to terminate her employment.

The Bank of Scotland later informed Mr Morison that Myles had made numerous money transfers to her personal account totalling around £210,000.

Fiscal depute Colin Nielson said: “It was established the accused had manipulated the hand-written figures on cash ledgers so that the figures matched those on the cash flow statements, thus not rousing the suspicion of Mr Morison.

“Following a review of the accused’s bank statements, a total of 1,061 payments were identified as being transferred from four BMF Group business accounts and credited to the accused’s own bank account.”

Gordon Morison, one of the owners of BMF Group, said Myles had “plenty of opportunity” to come clean about the theft, but had “manipulated the office so she was able to cover it up”.

He added: “It wasn’t just a question of the money, we subsequently found out she wasn’t doing her job anyway – but she was put in a position of trust and she used that position to take a lot of money.

“We had actually bailed her out once before in 2012 because she’d got herself into trouble financially – so no, I don’t feel sorry for her.

“It was very clever, to be honest, and it fooled a lot people, but I’m not convinced that she came up with the idea for it herself.”

Myles’ solicitor, Paul Barnett, said the former office manager was “extremely remorseful” for her actions and had done “everything she possibly can” to address her gambling addiction.

He added: “She takes full responsibility for the crime and does not blame anyone but herself. She would do anything to change what she did.”

Sentencing Myles, of Cramont Terrace, Banff, Sheriff William Summers said he recognised the offence was committed while she was “in the grips of a gambling addiction” adding that he “applauded” the lengths Myles had gone to deal with the problem.

He added: “You are clearly remorseful, but I also have to take into account the gravity of this charge.

“You defrauded your former employer of the astonishing sum of £210,000 – that involved a gross breach of the responsibility placed in you.

“This was not a one-off incident and it is quite clear that significant thought and planning went into this exercise and you took active steps to conceal the fraud from your former employers.

“It is my assessment this charge is too serious to be dealt with by anything other than a custodial sentence – I’m going to sentence you to a period of imprisonment of 18 months.”

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