A BOOKKEEPER swindled her employer out of more than £70,000 to pay for foreign holidays, a new car and her son’s wedding.
Three Way Precision Sheet Metal, in Shoebury, was forced to cut its workforce after Janet Goldstone stole £72,228 from company accounts over three years.
Goldstone, 52, of Marine Avenue on Canvey was handed a 21 month prison sentence when she appeared at Basildon Crown Court on Monday.
Company director Ronald Williams said: “We trusted her.
The three company directors have given their lives to building up this company.
“This has had a huge impact on us. We have had to lay off staff and have suffered sleepless nights and ill health.”
The court heard Goldstone started working for the company, based in Towerfield Road, in 2006 as a temporary bookeeper.
She was eventually taken on permanently, in a role that paid £25,000 per year, and was responsible for payroll, BACS payments and company cheques.
Between 2009 and 2012 she raised 34 cheques – worth £29,000 – paid to herself and her husband’s bank account. She also made 37 BACS payments to herself totalling £42,000.
She would write cheques out in pencil, get them signed by the company directors, then change the details on the cheque.
The court heard she initially stole the cash to pay for repairs to her Canvey home, after it was ruined by a cowboy builder.
However, she became greedy frittering the money on exotic holidays to Jamaica, the Domincan Republic, Cuba and Mexico.
She also bought a Range Rover and put £2,500 behind the bar at her son’s wedding reception.
The court heard Goldstone lied to her family and friends about where the cash came from – telling them she had received a PPI payout.
Matthew Bone, mitigating said his client was now “a shell of her former self”.
He said: “She won’t forgive herself for what she has done.
“She feel worthless and was extremely distressed when she heard of the redundencies.
Goldstone, who was dressed in a baby pink shirt and jeans sobbed as she was sentenced by Recorder Martyn Royall.
He said: “This was an abuse of your position as bookkeeper and a serious breach of trust.
“You have heard the shock and disappointment of the directors.
“I have no other option than to make a custodial sentence.”
SUSPICIOUS DIRECTOR TURNED DETECTIVE
A COMPANY director turned
detective to catch fraudster Janet
Paul Whitehouse, one of three
directors at Three Way Precision
Sheet Metal, in Shoebury said
he first became suspicious after
Goldstone began pestering him to
sign off company cheques weeks
before she was due to go on
He took a note of the payee and
cheque number and then followed
up the payment with the bank and
payee a few days later.
When he visited the company
named on the cheque he found
Three Way Precision Metals no
longer had an account with them.
He contacted the bank and
found Goldstone had altered the
cheque to pay herself the money.
Speaking after the trial, Mr
Whitehouse said: “This incident
has really undermined our trust in
“We are pleased with the outcome
– she put the business under
a lot of threat.
“We trusted her and because of
what happened the firm has had to
cut back on staff and machinery.
“Since this incident, our staffing
levels have dropped from about
100 to 50 – although not all of this
is a result of what Jan did.
“It is disappointing and upsetting
because we were always very
fair with her.”