When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Rossendale ‘fantasist’ stole £30k from work
A FRAUDSTER conned £30,000 from her bosses claiming she blew the cash on her £100-a-day eating disorder.
Mother-of-three Susan Foxcroft, 47, from Crawshawbooth, swindled the money over three years while working as a bookkeeper, a court heard.
She claimed she suffered from bulimia and anorexia. But a judge branded her a ‘thoroughly dishonest woman’ and jailed her for three-and-a-half-years.
She siphoned the money into her own account from Welding Engineers, in Newton Heath, Manchester, the court heard.
Foxcroft, of Crawshaw Drive, admitted two counts of fraud and one count of making a false statutory declaration.
After the case, her former boss Stephen Austin branded her a 'fantasist' and said the fraud had been 'horrific'.
He said: "Foxcroft blamed her actions on bulimia. She claimed she was eating up to £100 worth of food a day and that she was stealing to keep her condition hidden from her husband.
“This woman is a complete fantasist. On several occasions while she worked for me I caught her out telling lies. In one instance she even told me she had breast cancer and would need an operation which I later found out was untrue."
Manchester Crown Court heard that when Foxcroft was caught out she falsely claimed the firm had been dodging taxes, sparking an investigation into the company.
The prosecution said that she began transferring money from the company within weeks of being spared jail for a £6,000 theft from a previous employer.
The court heard Foxcroft even falsified accounts and forged letters in a bid to avoid being caught.
Foxcroft, who had began working as a TV extra after she was sacked, used banking transfers and company cheques to steal £31,302 from the company between 2009 and 2011.
When the Insolvency Service questioned her about large deposits into her accounts she claimed that the cash payments were ‘bonuses’, and then forged letters from Mr Austin, in a bid to back up the theft.
She intercepted mail sent to Mr Austin in a desperate attempt to cover her tracks, but he was alerted to the truth after a letter from the Insolvency Service got through to him.
Mr Austin said: “The effect of this crime on the business has been horrific. £30,000 is a hell of a lot of money. It has taken four months of man power to check all the accounts.
“That money was earmarked to give her 42 colleagues pay increases and bonuses, which the firm has been unable to do since we discovered the theft.
“To make it even worse she has been declared bankrupt for stealing from a previous employer and therefore has no assets to sell to compensate us, even though her husband is a wealthy financial director.
“However, everyone at the company is taking comfort in knowing she now has to spend the next three and a half years behind bars."
When contacted by the Lancashire Telegraph, a spokesman from the Insolvency Agency said: “This sends a strong message to dishonest individuals who go bankrupt that the Official Receiver will investigate their affairs and take action together with prosecuting authorities to deal with their misconduct."
Shelley Perry, clinical director of Lancashire charity Support and Education on Eating Disorders (SEED), said: “It sounds to me like this woman has used bulimia to cover up what has been going on.
“I do not know whether this woman was diagnosed with an eating disorder but it is very sad if she has made this up especially as charities like ourselves spend so much time trying to convince suffered to come forward."