HMA v Jacqueline McPhie

At the High Court in Edinburgh Lady Wise sentenced Jacqueline McPhie to three years and four months imprisonment after she pled guilty to a charge of fraud.

12 July 2106

On sentencing Lady Wise made the following statement in court:

"You have pled guilty, by way of section 76 indictment, to a charge of fraud. You formed a scheme to obtain large sums of money from your employer Altus Intervention. You did so by using the position of authority and responsibility you had within the company as Vice President of Finance. Your position gave you the ability to approve invoices for payment and you had full access to company bank accounts. You created a fiction that a company owned by your husband, Craigie Knowe Limited, had provided services to Altus and you submitted false invoices for large sums of money for the work supposedly carried out. The Crown narrative discloses that, when a colleague noticed the significant payments being made to Craigie Knowe Limited and asked you about it you lied to avoid detection. Between 1 March 2013 and 29 April 2014 you secured total sums in excess of £1,376,000 through this fraudulent scheme. You deceived and defrauded the employers who had entrusted you with an important and highly remunerative position in the company.

You are 46 years old and had what many people would regard as an enviable existence. You enjoyed a salary of almost £150,000 per annum, you were married with a child, your husband also had work. Your motivation can only have been greed, to have even more material wealth than your position allowed you to accrue. It is of considerable concern that this is not your first conviction for a dishonesty offence. You have a previous conviction for embezzlement, also of a significant sum dating from 2000 when you were given a non custrodial sentence. That experience did not deter you from further similar criminal conduct.

I have taken into account the terms of the CJSW report and the submissions made on your behalf by Mr Lenehan this morning, particularly in relation to your personal circumstances. There is in my view no alternative but to impose a custodial sentence on this occasion. The appropriate headline sentence for this significant fraud is in my view 5 years imprisonment. However, as you have pled guilty using the expedited section 76 procedure I will apply a suitable discount to that.

I sentence you to a period of imprisonment of 3 years and 4 months, to run from today's date".

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