27th Jun, 2022

Devious Coventry accounts officer stole more than £400k to fuel lavish lifestyle

A DEVIOUS company accounts officer who cost five honest staff members their jobs by stealing to fund her champagne lifestyle will have to cash in her pension and sell jewellery to pay some of it back.

Crooked Julie Lydall had stolen more than £400,000 to pay for her high living – and even took £3,000 the day after bosses at Delta Energy Services had given her a bigger than normal pay rise.

She was so devious she managed to cover up her dishonesty when auditors were brought in – but was finally caught after another check was carried out while she was off sick.

The 53-year-old, of Boyd Close, Woodway Park, Coventry, who had a record for thefts from employers, was jailed for five years in September last year after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to eight charges of fraud.

But a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act was adjourned for an investigation into Lydall’s finances.

And at the resumed hearing prosecutor Ian Windridge said it was agreed she had stolen a total of £446,184 from Delta, with inflation making the total benefit from her crime £494,042.

Her assets, including money in her bank account, a number of pension funds, motor vehicles and jewellery came to a total value of £79,626 – with the largest single amount being in a Royal London Mutual Society pension plan.

So Judge Andrew Lockhart QC ordered that amount to be confiscated from her under the Proceeds of Crime Act, and directed that it be applied as compensation to Delta.

He gave Lydall three months to pay the full amount, with 15 months in prison in default of it being paid by September 18.

Prosecutor Justin Jarmola said that in 2001 she had been jailed for nine months after stealing around £25,000 from her then-employer over a three-year period.

In 2007 she was jailed for 21 months for stealing just under £66,000 from her next employer over a 16-month period.

Following her release from that sentence in 2008, she applied for a job as an accounts assistant with Delta Energy Services, without disclosing her convictions and claiming she had no references because she had not worked for the previous four years.

In 2010 was made responsible for the accounts, giving her access to the company’s RBoS account to process payments to staff and contractors.

In March 2017 an extended audit was carried out, during which ‘she provided information which balanced the books.’

But around 150 unauthorised transactions were discovered during a further review when Lydall was off work ill.

It emerged she had been producing fake invoices from non-existent contractors and making payments into her own account.

Beginning in 2010 when she diverted £22,403 in that way, the amounts she stole increased year on year until, in 2016, she stole £106,271.

By the time she went off sick in April last year she had already transferred a further £76,034, said Mr Jarmola.

As a result the previously profitable company had had to record losses in the last financial year, and were likely to have to do so again this year.

And Judge Carmel Wall observed that five employees were being made redundant.

Christopher Jones, defending, conceded there was no real mitigation other than Lydall’s guilty pleas.

“She had clothing and long-haul holidays in Dubai, South Africa and Thailand. She had a champagne lifestyle on the money which was diverted.”

Jailing Lydall, Judge Wall told her: “These charges represent calculated and persistent dishonesty.

“Your employers and your work colleagues trusted you, and you went to work every day for more than seven years knowing you were deceiving them.

“The worst impact is that five staff members have lost their jobs – five people who worked hard and honestly for this company who have lost their jobs because of your dishonesty.”

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