Bala woman made out St Asaph firm's cheques to herself over five-year period

Reporter:

Andrew Martin

The accounts manager of a North Wales company has accepted that she made out company cheques to herself over a five-year period.

Mother of four Donna Harding appeared in the dock at Mold Crown Court charged with fraud between January 2011 and June 2016 while in a position of trust as accounts manager with MCS Test Equipment Ltd at St Asaph.

The prosecution alleged that she made out 212 fraudulent cheques which she cashed or deposited into her personal account to the tune of £100,000.

Harding, of Cae Bach in Bala, pleaded guilty but on the basis that the amount she had taken was £57,858.

The court was told that the prosecution was willing to accept a figure of some £70,000.

Defending barrister Elen Owen suggested that it would not make a material difference in sentence whether it was £57,000 or £70,000 because both were within the same sentencing bracket.

Judge Rhys Rowlands gave the prosecution time to consider the issue.

He bailed Harding pending sentence at the end of the month but warned her that custody would be uppermost in the court’s mind.

The difficulty was the amount involved and the period of time over which the fraud took place.

Money had been taken while she was in a position of trust, he said.

Her guilty plea was important which would lead to a discount in sentence, whatever it may be.

The actual amount of reduction would be a matter for the sentencing judge, he said, and whether evidence would need to be called.

If the decision went against her then the discount in sentence could be less.

He ordered a full pre-sentence report in view of the fact that the defendant was a mother of four.

But he warned that it was a “desperately serious matter” and he did not want her to read anything into the fact that he was bailing her and ordering a pre-sentence report.

“All sentencing options will remain open,” he said.

“Custody will be uppermost in the court’s mind on the next occasion.”

Email:

andrew.martin@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Free Press

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