Berkshire

Wokingham engineering firm workers jailed for fraud

Reading Crown Court Image copyright Google
Image caption The pair were sentenced at Reading Crown Court

Two office workers who defrauded a small engineering firm of over £300,000 have been jailed.

Joy Liddiard, 81, and Beverly Taylor, 51, sent secret payments to themselves over five years while working for Wokingham-based Simpson Springs and Pressings Ltd.

The pair's deceit was uncovered by accountants who examined the firm's accounts, Reading Crown Court heard.

Liddiard was sentenced to 32 months' imprisonment and Taylor 27 months.

The pair caused a loss to the family-run business of £316,740.

'Callous and cold-hearted'

In a victim impact statement, managing director Derek Simpson said "their betrayal is the ultimate slap in the face" and there was a chance the business could have closed.

Sentencing the pair, Judge Sarah Campbell called it a "callous and cold-hearted fraud".

Liddiard, who joined the firm in 2007, was responsible for the company's accounts and was able to make payments to staff and suppliers.

Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption Joy Liddiard admitted her role in the fraud

The court heard she opened a personal bank account with a similar name to a courier used by the firm to disguise the fraudulent payments. She transferred nearly £220,000 to it.

Office administrator Taylor, who started working for the company in 2011, became aware of the fraud and joined in.

Liddiard paid mother-of-three Taylor double her salary every month, making her more than £47,000. The scam took place from 2011 to 2016.

Liddiard, of Old Bath Road, Charvil, admitted conspiracy to defraud and fraud by abuse of position, while Taylor, of Lucas Place, Bracknell, was found guilty after a trial.

Prosecuting, Fiona Ryan said: "There was significant planning in the establishing of a bank account in a particular name and various efforts defendants went to hide their tracks."

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