Fake refund scam: employee in court

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A SHOP assistant who devised a scam and stole more than £1,700 from her employer has been ordered to repay just £260.

Sarah Kendall, 27, of High Street in Burniston, began taking the cash from clothes shop Internacionale in Scarborough’s Brunswick Centre in October last year.

Her scheme involved identifying items that had been recently sold and making false refunds for them, before pocketing the cash for herself.

Scarborough Magistrates’ Court heard that Kendall carried out the refunds scam as many as 83 times before it was discovered in February, netting £1,755.58.

Sandra White, prosecuting, said that a loss prevention manager, who carried out an audit at the store, discovered the thefts.

He became suspicious after another member of staff said she had been asked by Kendall to countersign a receipt with no customer present.

CCTV was then installed, and Kendall’s deception was uncovered.

She was sacked from her job and arrested, admitting the crimes to police in interview.

“She would make up customers’ details and put the cash in her pockets,” Miss White added. “None of the cash has been repaid and I would ask that you consider compensation.”

Peter Maynard, mitigating, said that his client, who pleaded guilty to a charge of theft by employee at the first opportunity, had committed the crimes out of desperation.

“She was living with her partner, who was unable to get work,” he said.

“He was unable to claim benefits because of the money that she was earning.

“On average she got between £850 and £900 a month after tax. After £400 rent, council tax, gas, electric and TV licence, there was very little left for her and her partner to live on.

“Sadly, she started to get this extra money by doing these non-genuine refunds. She told me she did not realise just how many she had done.

“She has never done anything at all dishonest in her life before this. She feels very, very bad about what she has done.”

Mr Maynard added that Kendall and her partner had moved house since the offences were committed and are currently both claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance.

Kendall was told to complete 120 hours of unpaid work and undergo supervision as part of a 12 month community order.Due to her lack of means, she was ordered to repay £260 to Internacionale. No order was made for costs.