A young mother embezzled tens of thousands of pounds from her own company after getting addicted to online gambling and running up a £120,000 debt.
A court heard yesterday that Carly Flockhart tried to find “solace” in the excitement of computer games after the tragic death of her partner.
William Reid – the father of Flockhart’s young son Aiden – died in a North Sea fishing accident.
Her gambling habit almost ruined the company she worked for and cost the company director her house.
And now 29-year-old Flockhart faces being jailed if she cannot repay the £66,514 she took from her business partner.
Mr Reid, from Avoch, was 26 when he died after being dragged into the water at the back of his father Willie’s boat Apollo in 2007.
His dad and other crew members battled in vain to revive him.
Flockhart, of 1b Dores Road, Inverness, was originally charged with embezzling almost £100,000 from janitorial supplies firm WC Supplies in the Highland capital’s Harbour Road.
At the city’s sheriff court she admitted taking £66,000 while she was company secretary between January 1, 2009, and December 31 the following year.
Fiscal depute Karen Smith said: “This was not an elaborate plan where false records were kept.
“She was paying money into her own account and raising false invoices to cover that amount.
“It came to the attention of other members of the company in October 2010, when a court judgment was awarded against the company by a supplier.
“An invoice for £2,400 was not paid and their bank account was frozen. The invoice was subsequently paid.
“The suspicions of one of the other shareholders were aroused about the finances of the company and he asked an accountant to investigate.
“When confronted about the missing money, she broke down in tears and confessed.”
Flockhart’s agent, solicitor Marc Dickson, said: “She worked very hard to develop the business, but unfortunately she was beset by a number of personal difficulties.
“She suffered from post-natal depression and in 2007 her partner and father of her son drowned at sea.
“My client turned to gambling to negate her loss and the psychiatrist who compiled today’s report said she found solace in the excitement of online gambling.
“Her debts to the gambling company exceeded £120,000 and she took money from her company with the intention of repaying it.
“She occasionally made some payments which masked what she had taken out.
“She is now subject to a bankruptcy hearing, the equity in her house which she no longer owns and other spare funds have been paid into a trust to repay her creditors and that is why she has been unable to pay any of it back.”
Sheriff David Sutherland said he wanted more details about her current financial position.
He added: “The priority here is to try and get the money repaid to a small company which has suffered a heavy loss.”
Sentence was deferred until August 22 for Mr Dickson to provide the information.
Director of the business Alan Walker said after the hearing he went without pay for six months to keep the business afloat after his former business partner’s deception came to light.
He said: “I’ve got two kids and a wife and it was hard for everybody. It was all local businesses who were owed money and I nearly went bankrupt. But I was determined that they get paid.
“She was able to walk away and I was left to sort it out. It took me over two-and-a-half years to clear the debt.”