Accountant jailed for £200k theft from luxury goods supplier

An accountant from Yorkshire who stole almost £200,000 from the luxury shoe firm where she was in charge of the finances has been jailed for three and a half years.


Dale Ballance, who worked for the upmarket Leeds-based shoe and handbag firm Moda, spent the money on a ‘lavish and decadent’ wedding to her husband and also bought a share in a racehorse.

Leeds Crown Court heard Ballance began working for the company as management accountant in 2008, with a starting salary on £40,000, and was also allowed to carry on operating her private accountancy firm at the same time.

The court was told Ballance carried out a ‘bold and calculated’ series of thefts from the company between May 2009 and March 2011, despite persuading Moda to increase her salary to £50,000. 

The frauds, which involved Balance making out cheques to herself, came to light when she left the company after being refused another pay rise.

At her trial, Ballance continued to deny the thefts and claimed the money was part of a ‘secret bonus system’ which had been set up by her employers. She also accused her former bosses of committing perjury when they gave evidence at her trial. The jury rejected her claims and found her guilty of three offences of theft.

The judge in the case told Ballance: ‘This was systematic and persistent removal of a considerable amount of money. You were in a position of trust.

'Instead of repaying that trust with loyalty you manipulated the accounting ledgers in order to cover up your stealing. You did that by posting false entries in the ledgers so that the thefts could not be discovered after you left. Even when you were discovered, you lied to the other directors when they sought to meet to resolve the matters.’

During the trial, it emerged Balance had used the proceeds of the thefts to buy a half share in a racehorse called Sharadiyn for her husband. She also paid for a wedding which included a ring-bearing owl called Olly and seven bridesmaids in what was described by the prosecution as a ‘lavish and decadent affair’.

Ballance now faces further court hearings under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Pat Sweet |Reporter, Accountancy Daily [2010-2021]

Pat Sweet was the former online reporter at Accountancy Daily and contributor to the monthly Accountancy magazine, pub...

View profile and articles

Be the first to vote

Rate this article

Related Articles