An unemployed woman has been fined $4,500 and given suspended prison sentences after she reportedly stole thousands from a local law firm four years ago.
Denise Stanley had previously pleaded guilty to four counts of theft and two counts of false accounting in the Magistrate’s Court.
She reportedly stole the sum of $1,875 from a male client and $1500 from a female client.
In handing down the sentence on Friday, Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards said her early guilty plea, her corporation with the police, and her expressions of remorse went in her favour as mitigating factors.
On the other hand, the abuse of trust, the seriousness and prevalence of the offences were considered as aggravating.
Stanley was fined a total of $4,500 on the first three counts of theft. In default of not paying, she will spend 10 months in prison.
For the remaining two counts of theft, she was given a custodial sentence of six months at Her Majesty’s Prison.
She was also given a 15-month custodial sentence for the two counts of false accounting. But because of the extended time that has passed since the offence, the court ruled for the prison sentences to be suspended for two years.
This means she will only face a custodial sentence if she reoffends in the next two years.
What the court heard happened
The court heard that between July to November 2015, Stanley stole more than $3,000 belonging to a law firm that she worked for at the time.
She reportedly made payment arrangements with two of the clients of the firm and furnished them with false receipts.
The clients learnt that the funds were reportedly stolen by Stanley when they received correspondence from the firm that their payments were still outstanding.
The matter was subsequently reported to the police who then launched an investigation into the matter.
When questioned, the court heard that Stanley admitted to the offences.
“Let me be honest … yes, I took the money,” she reportedly said.
Through her attorney Jamal Smith, Stanley said she was facing financial difficulties because she was not being paid consistently by her employer.
“While this does not excuse what she has done, her employers put her in a position where she could not meet her living expenses … She could not pay her rent,” Smith told the court in a previous court appearance.
Smith further said his client had every intention of returning the stolen cash. The court, however, heard that the amounts remain unpaid because she is still unemployed.
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