AN ACCOUNTANT turned fraudster, who forged company cheques to steal £415,000, has been ordered to pay back a third of the money.
Diana Cummins, formerly of McCarthy Way in Finchampstead, pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud and one count of theft at Reading Crown Court in February 2012, and was sentenced to three years imprisonment for each offence to run concurrently.
The 56-year-old had worked as a part-time financial accountant for Bering Heating Supplies, in Rances Lane, Wokingham, and between March 2007 and December 2010, forged and altered cheques - making them out to herself.
She was arrested in December 2010.
The case was pulled up again by the police Economic Crime Unit to recover the stolen cash and on January 2, a confiscation order was granted by the courts, forcing Cummins to repay £139,000 within the next six months.
Failure to pay back the money by July will mean she has to serve another 27 months in prison.
The family home has continued to be occupied by the defendant's spouse, however some of the stolen money was used to carry out home improvements on the property. As such, the house is now on the market.
Cummins also gave away around £50,000 to her daughters and husband, which will be repaid, with all money recovered being returned in the form of compensation to the victim.
Financial investigator, Jennifer Bailey, of the Thames Valley Police Asset Recovery Team, said: "Cummins seriously abused her position of trust and she nearly destroyed the small business that she worked for by stealing a significant sum of money to maintain a standard of living that she and her family could not legitimately afford.
"The Proceeds of Crime Act enabled us to recover what cash Diana Cummins has left in order to compensate the victim, albeit for a significantly smaller sum than that stolen.
"Convicted criminals can be sure that we will vigorously attempt to deprive them and their families from continuing to live off of the proceeds of their crimes."