NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Melanie Fraser jailed over £69,000 oil firm embezzlement

An Aberdeenshire woman who embezzled almost £70,000 from an oil firm has been jailed.

Melanie Fraser, 37, from Ellon, worked in the accounts department of HRH Ltd's Aberdeen headquarters.

Fraser was caught after two years when after another employee noticed accounting irregularities.

She admitted the offence at Aberdeen Sheriff Court and was jailed for 16 months.

Sheriff William Summers described Fraser's actions as a "spectacular fall from grace".

Defence agent Gregor Kelly said the hardest part of the "inevitable" custodial sentence would be being apart from her husband, 17-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter.

Mr Kelly said: "She was a trusted member of staff.

"She maintains that she did not know the extent of the sum she had embezzled. She simply used the money to make her immediate family more comfortable.

"Her world has crumbled since then.

"She is horrified at her actions. She is horrified that she has breached trust over a period of time."

He added: "Clearly the forced estrangement from her family will be the greatest punishment of all."

'No other option'

The sheriff said: "This embezzlement involved a substantial sum of money. It involved a significant breach of trust over a period of time.

"It is absolutely clear that there is no realistic prospect of repayment.

"Taking that into account there is no other option than a custodial sentence."

Fraser broke down in tears as she was jailed.

The offence was committed between 2010 and 2012.

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