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[STV NewsA finance director embezzled more than £77,000 from her work so she could buy luxury goods including a horse box. 

Court report: Petronella MacDougall embezzled more than £77,000 over two years from company accounts.

Petronella MacDougall, 59, siphoned off tens of thousands of pounds from a business account while working as head of accounts at an Aberdeen-based production company.

She was caught when a fellow director at A-Line Audio Visual found an email asking for a deposit for a horse box. That led to the discovery of a secret credit card which MacDougall used to take money out of the company’s accounts.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told that as one of three directors at the company, MacDougall had a debit card and was authorised to co-sign business cheques.

Her colleagues, Andrew Dunn and Richard Trilk, checked the company’s accounts after suppliers complained of missed payments.

Procurator fiscal depute Elaine Ward said: “On February 7, 2013, one of the other directors received a telephone call from a company supplier seeking payment for an outstanding account that amounted to £1300.

“As a result of this witness Dunn looked at the cheque book and noticed one of the cheque stubs had been as payment of 500 pounds to the company. He quizzed this with the supplier but there were adamant they had not received payment.”

The two men found several payments to businesses who had no connection to A-Line, as well as regular monthly payments of £300 to a Mastercard which neither director knew about.

Mr Dunn also noticed a payment of £2500 made out to R and S Sinclair, which corresponded to an email to MacDougall from a Sharon Sinclair asking for a deposit for a horse box.

When company accountants were called in to carry out a forensic audit of the business they discovered a staggering £77.162.24 had been embezzled over two years without anyone noticing.

MacDougall was cautioned and detained by police on February 26 last year, and admitted the crime in a police interview.

More on this story from STV News……

STV News
19th Feb, 2014

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