A Lancashire dental manager has been jailed after stealing nearly £300,000 from her employers over decades by manipulating cheques and digital records
Lisa Marie Jones from Scarisbrick worked at Mansion House Dental Practice in Ormskirk where she was responsible for the payroll and finances of the business from the 1980s until 2016 when the fraud was discovered.
She was first charged in 2018 after a fraud investigation and Jones admitted fraud and false accounting related to the theft of £282,958. She was jailed for six years and nine months at Preston Crown Court this week.
Jones worked part-time for 16 hours a week at the dental practice and handled the finances giving her access to all the financial records.
The court was told that she paid herself up to £8,000 a month, when her actual monthly pay should have been £1,200, and spent the extra money on luxury handbags and shoes.
To manipulate payments, Jones would change the totals on cheques adding zeros and when the practice modernised the accounts and stopped issuing cheques, she altered the figures in the payroll records to increase her earnings.
A new owner took over the business in 2014 and discovered that money was missing from the accounts, at which point he hired a forensic investigator who uncovered the fraud.
When caught she blamed colleagues at the dental practice and then said she had been having an affair with the owner of the business who had given her the money. At this time she was dismissed for gross misconduct.
Judge Graham Knowles KC said: ‘For seven years you defrauded two dentists who employed you and trusted you. You defrauded them of more than a quarter of a million pounds.
‘For seven more years you denied what you had done and blamed others for what you had done until eventually you changed your plea to guilty.
‘You abused your role and abused their trust.’