Charlotte Clifton decided to take her three children on a trip to Disneyland, but it appears that the magical holiday was being planned using magic money.
Clifton was recently sentenced to serve 6 months in prison for taking over £70,000 from her employer and ‘getting away with it.’
The 30-year-old mother-of-three was the accounts manager of a small family firm called County Gates Ltd, located in Romiley, Stockport. According to the judge, Clifton processed 34 fake transactions, labeling them as wage payments.
Clifton’s job was to pay suppliers at Chadkirk Industrial estate for custom gates, railings, balconies and other metalwork. The small company later discovered, during a routine check of payments, that a sizeable amount of money was funneled out of the firm and into Clifton’s pocket.
The Manchester Evening News reported that Clifton faced a 12-month sentence and that she would serve half of the time in prison. Clifton started weeping as the judge, Recorder Nicholas Clarke QC told her, “You indulged yourself at the expense of your employer, who trusted you explicitly. As accounts manager you were responsible for paying suppliers and staff wages. This offence was sophisticated and involved the altering of records.” “It was devious and quite deliberate. The total amount is significant, over £70,000, which small family firms can ill-afford,” he added.
“There is a perception that fraud is a faceless crime but this case is a good example that it most certainly is not,” the judge concluded.
The small business was surprised to find out that Clifton had been stealing from them for a long time. They stated, "Charlotte was a well-liked and trusted member of staff.” “We are shocked at the level of deception Charlotte has shown herself capable of. We had concerns because although we were busy and had plenty of customers, we were only making minimal profit. Charlotte knew that we were cutting back,” they added. “Despite this, she has continued to take from us.”
According to police, Clifton had already booked a family trip to Disneyworld and she was also planning to start her own business as a beautician.
Clifton was defended by Welsh journalist Huw Edwards who claimed that her children needed their mother and she couldn’t be sent to prison.
Edwards stated that, “Clifton made the first few payments due to her then dire financial position, but because she got away with it, she 'became greedy' and carried on taking money, which she began to rely on.”
“Clifton was genuinely remorseful, I cannot think of a more worthy candidate to have her sentence suspended, her offending behavior aside," he added.