Oil Industry Executive Stole £1.3m from North Sea Firm

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    An oil industry executive with a previous conviction for embezzlement stole more than £1.3m from her employers.

    Jacqueline McPhie, 46, pocketed the money while working as vice-president for finance at Altus Intervention in Aberdeen between March 2013 and April 2014.

    The High Court in Edinburgh heard on Tuesday how McPhie earned £146,848 a year from the firm, which supplies equipment for north sea projects.

    Prosecution lawyer Alison Di Rollo told the court that McPhie spent £80,000 buying a Range Rover sports car, between £60,000 and £70,000 on a new garage and driveway, £52,000 on a new kitchen and £30,000 on a summer house in her garden.

    She was given 300 hours’ community service 16 years ago for stealing £250,000 from previous employers and now faces proceeds of crime action and the possibility of a jail sentence.

    McPhie pleaded guilty to a charge of embezzlement before judge Lady Wise.

    Deferring sentence for the court to obtain reports, the judge said: “You have pleaded guilty to extremely serious offences.”

    The court heard McPhie’s husband was the sole director of a company called Craigie Knowe Ltd, a contracting firm which was registered to the family’s home in Great Western Road, Aberdeen.

    Ms Di Rollo said McPhie had “full access” to the company’s bank accounts and was a signatory to them.

    Her husband had nothing to do with his wife’s activities, the court heard.

    Ms Di Rollo said: “In the spring of 2013, not long after she had started to work for Altus, one of the finance managers noticed high-value payments being made into the Craigie Knowe account. She questioned the accused about them.

    “The accused told her the payments related to the creation of a branch of Altus in Cyprus and the sums involved where high because of the involvement of solicitors in Dubai.

    “Being relatively new to the business but knowing it was expanding to branches outwith the UK, she accepted the explanation without further question.

    The accused told her that she – the accused – would take care of all the invoicing for the project.

    “On May 19, 2014, the police service of Scotland received intelligence that the accused had purchased two heritable properties in quick succession, for cash, without the legitimate means to do so and that there had been a series of suspicious transactions through her personal bank account.

    She added:”Staff confirmed that Altus Intervention had not contracted with or otherwise engaged in any legitimate business with Craigie Knowe and that all of these payments were fraudulent.

    “Police then launched an urgent investigation into McPhie’s scam. Detectives discovered she had faked invoices and had also faked emails from senior Altus Intervention staff which authorised payments to McPhie.

    The court heardofficers then detained McPhie on June 2, 2014. She confessed to what she had done on her way to the police station in Aberdeen.

    Ms Di Rollo added: “Whilst en route to Aberdeen Police divisional headquarters, she stated ‘I’ll tell you everything, it’s got nothing to do with my husband’.”

    The court also heard Altus had managed to recover £238,701.90 from McPhie.

    Defence advocate Tony Lenehan told the court his client was involved in a “bitter” divorce from her husband and that she was now living in a caravan in Arbroath.

    Mr Lenehan also told the court he would receive his plea of mitigation until McPhie’s next court appearance. McPhie will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh on May 31.

     

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