Accountant who stole £100k from Sutton firm told to repay just £1,250

Alaska Freeman.
Alaska Freeman.

A dodgy accountant who stole more than £100,000 from a Sutton firm has been ordered to repay just £1,250.

Alaska Freeman was jailed for four years in October after admitting 10 charges of fraud - but in a hearing to reclaim some of the cash, Nottingham Crown Court heard her only assets are electrical goods, including a vacuum cleaner.

The court heard got a job as an assistant management accountant with Sutton-based Maun Industries, after sending in an CV via a recruitment firm.

She was arrested for fraud four years later in February 2016 - but got a job with a second firm while on bail and duped them as well.

As she appeared in the same court by video link from prison, she heard that she had made £100,000 from her crimes.

Jonathan Dee, prosecuting, described this as the "benefit figure" and said: "The available assets are £1,250.

"I ask for a confiscation order for that sum.

"These available assets are effectively items in possession of the police, a variety of electrical items including a Hoover or a Dyson.

"It is intended to return them to the various owners. That is the order effectively satisfied."

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Ami Feder, for Freeman, said the figure was agreed and documents would be signed so the assets could be released.

Judge Rosalind Coe QC agreed a benefit figure of £100,000 and available assets of £1,250.

She said: "There will be a confiscation order for that amount. The order will be satisfied by the signing of the document by the defendant."

Judge Coe said Freeman, aged 40, must sign the paperwork within a month or will have a day's jail added to her sentence, the judge added.

Her crimes came to light after she got a job with Maun Industries of Hamilton Road. Her first role was as assistant management accountant.

But she was promoted to management accountant and then became general manager of Ketchum Manufacturing, which had been bought by her employers in 2013. She also became treasurer of a trade association.

Freeman, previously of Ronchin Gardens, Kirkby, and lately of Radford, Nottingham, was given bonuses, pay rises and ran both firms while a director took a business trip.

However, investigators found that she made personal purchases on company credit cards, moved company cash into her own bank accounts and stole petty cash.

She also lied about her accountancy qualifications, but eluded justice until August 2015 when tax officers said the firm owed more than £100,000 in unpaid National Insurance and PAYE contributions.

Freeman was suspended and sacked for gross misconduct when more discrepancies were found.

After being bailed six months later, she got a job as financial controller at Nottingham firm Nexor.

Within another six months, she left when the company alerted the police to say she had defrauded them.

At this firm, she used company credit cards to buy jewellery, clothing, computer gear and beauty products worth more than £3,200.

She moved £10,000 into her personal bank account, lied on her CV and failed to admit that she had been arrested.

Speaking after she was jailed, Eddie Thomas, of Maun Industries, said: “Never in my long business career have I ever experienced such an utter betrayal of trust and blatant deceit.

“The financial impact on Maun Industries of these crimes was severe and it has taken three years hard work by our dedicated employees for the business to recover and again be successful.”

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