September 2 2014 Latest news:
Peter Walsh, Crime correspondent
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
A former book-keeper who stole more than £35,000 from a doctors’ surgery in Thetford has been ordered to pay back more than £5,000 or face six months in prison.
Lynne Featherstone, of Bury Road, Thetford, was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, earlier this year after previously having admitted fraud after taking almost £36, 000 from Hadley Brown and Partners doctors surgery in Thetford.
Featherstone, 44, appeared at Norwich Crown Court yesterday for a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing.
Judge Katharine Moore said the overall benefit figure was £35,719.42 but determined the available amount to be £5,938.96.
She ordered Featherstone to pay that in three months or serve six months in prison in default of payment.
Previously it was reported Featherstone, who started working at the surgery in 2006 as junior administrator but was promoted to book-keeper in 2008, “got into a mess” could not pay back pay day loans she had taken out and “got into more and more debt”.
Between September 2011 and February 2013 Featherstone, who had a card which gave her access to the business’s banking system, made 25 payments to her own personal bank account.
She covered the payments up by copying invoices and getting them signed off by the member of staff whose job it was to authorise payments.
Sentencing Featherstone, Judge Nicholas Coleman, who described the defendant as a “thief”, said she had committed the offence while “in a position of trust” and had “abused that trust” in this “persistent course of conduct”.
She was also given 18 months supervision as part of a community order and ordered to undertake the Women’s Emotional Wellbeing specified requirement.
John Farmer, mitigating, said she realises the position of trust she was in and “recognises the result of her breach of trust has let down the people who employed her and trusted her”.