Thetford woman is jailed four years for stealing £1.7 million from Newmarket employer
An account manager from Thetford stole £1.7 million from her Newmarket employer to fund a gambling addiction, a court has heard.
Tracey Stevenson, 52, of Arlington Way, Thetford, transferred money into her own account, made false cheques out to herself and her husband and altered company records to hide her deceit.
She splashed the cash on two houses in the UK and one in Spain after combining it with huge gambling wins of £1.6 million and £250,000.
Stevenson’s fraud came to light when Newmarket-based refurbishment contractors Ecsec Ltd suffered cash flow problems in January and launched an investigation into its books.
She immediately went off sick as her lies were uncovered, before her husband told her employers what she had done after finding a suicide note. Prosecuting, Martin Mulgrew said: “She later made full admissions to her husband who, with a heavy heart, told her employer.
“The defendant was arrested and made full admissions in police interview as the extent of her fraud emerged.”
Stevenson admitted five counts of theft between 2011 and 2016, amounting to a total of £1.713 million.
In mitigation, Neil Guest said: “My client tragically became seduced by gambling first with trips down to her local Gala bingo hall and then in her own home.
“Her two big gambling wins did nothing but encourage her further.
“She feels overwhelmed with shame and knows she has betrayed her employer.
“Her admissions came about because of a suicide note her husband discovered.
“In her 52 years on earth her only previous brush with the law was a speeding ticket 20 years ago.”
Jailing her for four years on Friday, Judge Jonathan Haworth said Stevenson’s fraud had a significant impact on her small former company, which employs just 13 staff.
He added: “The company spent £40,000 investigating your dishonesty and the owners took out an overdraft.
“You had gambling wins but rather than pay the company back you bought three houses.
“You became dishonest to an extent barely seen.”