Payroll manager jailed for diverting £150k to own account

A payroll manager who defrauded her employer of almost £150,000 by making payments directly into her own bank account has been jailed for four years

Catherine Mitchell worked for Romatech (NI) Ltd, based in Strood, which supplies temporary staff to other companies.

She was responsible for making payments to individuals who were placed on contracts however, Maidstone Crown Court heard that between January 2011 and November 2013, Mitchell paid herself £149,728, disguising the payments by attaching the names of other employees.

The court was told that Mitchell spent £25,000 on dental implant treatment and £11,000 on a new car during the three years she carried out the fraud. The deception only came to light when the company planned to expand and employ more staff and noticed that payments for the same members of staff were going into the same destination bank account, which was receiving very substantial amounts.

In sentencing, Judge Jeremy Carey told Mitchell: ‘It was a gross breach of trust. The managing director Peter Fowler considered you to be a friend and had total trust in your honesty and ability.’

The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) suspended Mitchell’s membership while she was under investigation by Kent police, and has now disqualified her for life.

Lindsay Melvin, CIPP CEO, said: ‘This is an unsettling case, but thankfully the authorities responded immediately.

‘The CIPP and payroll professionals have a superb reputation which is based on excellence and trust – something we do our best to uphold so it is very rare that we see a case like this.’

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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...

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