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Former finance officer could go to jail after admitting fraud

By Grantham Reporter

A former finance officer at a Grantham engineering company faces a possible jail sentence after she admitted fraudulently paying herself.

Claire Johnston, 34, pleaded guilty to a single charge of fraud relating to BGB Engineering when she appeared at Lincoln Crown Court today.

The fraud occured between September 9, 2014, and February 22, 2018, when Johnston used her position as finance officer with the firm to make payments to herself which she was not entitled to.

Jon Straw, defending Johnston, said the business was family run and his client was "very anxious" to enter her guilty plea. He told the court: "The value of the fraud and the parameters have not yet been fully ascertained.

"We are still waiting for the full banking records to be uploaded, but it will not be an issue. The defendant is a lady of previous good character and has various personal issues.

"Clearly she now faces the possibility of a custodial sentence so I would ask for sentence to be adjourned for both a probation report and a psychological report."

The court heard Johnston is married and had been working until she disclosed the proceedings to her latest employers. Mr Straw added that Johnston had come to court with her "bag packed" and appreciated the seriousness of the case.

He also asked for any proceeds of crime hearing to be adjourned until after Johnston is sentenced.

Recorder Stephen Evans granted Johnston unconditional bail for the preparation of the reports but warned her it was not a promise that she would avoid custody.

The Recorder said: "You have entered your plea to this charge sensibly. I am going to adjourn sentence as Mr Straw tells me there are a number of inquiries and reports that he needs.

"I want you to understand that on the face of it this well and truly passes the custodial threshold."

The case was adjourned until October 11 when Johnston, of Bradley Drive, Grantham, will be sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court.


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