Norwich woman stole from company to fund lifestyle she could not afford

Michelle Andrews who was given a suspended prison sentence after admitting fraud and theft.

Michelle Andrews who was given a suspended prison sentence after admitting fraud and theft. - Credit: Supplied.

An administration manager with low self-esteem fraudulently took more than £14,000 to live a lifestyle she could not afford, a court has heard.

Michelle Andrews, 41, worked at a Norwich-based manufacturing company where she used staff credit cards and cash she had not banked to fund hotel stays, weekend breaks, a flight to Jersey with another man, as well as a car.

Norwich Crown Court heard that, between September 2018 and February 2020, Andrews fraudulently took £11,000 on staff credit cards and stole £3,000 in cash, taken from vending machines, which she had failed to bank.

John Fairhead, prosecuting, said the fraud related to 272 fraudulent transactions on credit cards used by nine other members of staff - two of which had since left - at the firm.

In addition, Andrews also helped herself to £599 raised by colleagues from events held in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support in December 2019.

The charity never received the money.

Mr Fairhead told the court the offending has had a “huge impact” on the company, with the “hidden costs” of investigating the offences in the region of £60,000.

Most Read

Staff feel “they have been stolen from” and there was disbelief that anyone could steal from the company as well as a charity.

Andrews, of Magpie Road, Norwich, appeared in court on Thursday (July 8) to be sentenced having previously admitted fraud and theft and another count of fraud.

Recorder Simon Taylor said the sum of money involved in the offences "doesn't do justice to the harm you've caused".

He said the harm was "significant" and resulted in new procedures being brought in to try and prevent this sort of thing from happening again.

Andrews was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years.

She was also ordered to carry out 40 days rehabilitation activity requirement and do 150 hours of unpaid work.

Matthew Sorrel-Cameron, mitigating, said the defendant suffered from “low self-esteem” and had lived for many years “without any friends”.

He said she had no existing relationship with any of her family, including her son who lived with his father.

While working at the firm he said she “developed a habit of spending this money on a lifestyle she knew she could not afford”.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter