Hereford & Worcester

Wendy Dillingham jailed for stealing £260,000 from Evesham employer

Wendy Dillingham Image copyright West Mercia Police
Image caption Wendy Dillingham was so trusted by the firm's managing director, he said he had made her an executor of his will

A company secretary who siphoned off more than £260,000 from her employer to fund a luxury lifestyle has been jailed for five years for fraud.

Wendy Dillingham, 59, paid herself inflated wages, moved lump sums into her account and used bank cards belonging to PPS Media Limited.

She hid her dishonesty by creating false documents until an internal audit uncovered her actions in 2013.

Dillingham, from Evesham, admitted theft, fraud and false accounting.

She was sentenced at Worcester Crown Court on Tuesday.

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Dillingham, of Wisteria Drive, worked at the Evesham-based firm between 1987 and March 2014 where she was responsible for the company payroll, West Mercia Police said.

She used her position to create false bank statements, withdrew money from cash machines and used the bank cards to buy herself luxury cosmetics, paintings, clothing and luggage.

Police said she paid herself a higher wage despite claiming to have taken a £10,000 per year reduction, to help the business through the economic downturn in 2008.

The firm became suspicious when Dillingham was unwilling to provide original bank statements during the audit.

Managing director, Vernon Pethard, said he remained "deeply shocked and dismayed" by her crimes.

"She was in a position of trust and this was a highly thought-out and long term deception.

"I had even made her an executor of my will which shows the extent to which she was trusted by me."

Det Insp Emma Wright , from the force's economic crime unit, said officers had carried out a "long and complex investigation".

"Wendy Dillingham betrayed the trust of a company who had employed her for 24 years by abusing her position in order to steal money from them."

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