A mother who stole £45,000 from a catering company where she worked has escaped jail - and been told she doesn’t have to clear her debt for another 95 years.
Angela Garton, 37, stole from her employers Pauline and Philip Milbank at upmarket Newmarket catering company, FoodAmour, formerly Wendy Milbank Ltd, for four years as she paid herself a shadow salary.
Mr Milbank told the Journal: “She has dealt a massive blow to our business, but also, and most importantly, to our faith in human nature as we trusted this lady with our lives.”
Ipswich Crown Court heard how the mother-of-two made unauthorised transfers from the company account into her own bank every month.
Garton had worked part-time in the company’s accounts department for five and a half years. She stole sums roughly equivalent to her legitimate salary to double her wage using cheques signed by one of the directors.
The thefts were committed between December 2009 and September 2013 and were finally uncovered by accountants.
But despite the theft Garton, of Portland Road, Newmarket, was handed a 21 month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to theft from her employer.
Garton, who now lives off benefits, was also told she had to pay back the debt at a rate of £40-a-month - meaning it will take 94 years to cover the amount she stole.
Recorder Bruce Houlder QC, sentencing, said: “You have come today extremely close to an immediate sentence of imprisonment. This is a very considerable opportunity that you have. I hope you will seize it with both hands.”
Hugh Vass, mitigating, said payments into her bank account had begun innocently as salary being paid in advance. But soon the payments became an addition to her legitimate salary in a bid to cover the costs of raising two children alone.
Mr Vass said: “This is not someone who is living the high life at someone else’s expense. What it amounted to was eeking out an existence with two young children.”
Garton will also be under probation service supervision for 12 months.