Ashley Mercury, a woman from Ipswich, attends a forfeiture hearing

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Published:
12:08 11 July 2022



An Ipswich woman who was spared another stint behind bars last year for stealing thousands of pounds from her employer for the second time can only repay £100 of the stolen money, a court has heard .

Last year, Ashley Mercury, 55, of Clarkson Street, Ipswich, was sentenced to 14 months in prison, suspended for two years, with 150 hours of unpaid work and 25 days of rehabilitation activity after admitting having defrauded by abuse of position. .

Ipswich Crown Court heard that Mercury obtained £11,934 by dishonestly abusing his position as financial director of car parts company Interex Ltd, in Needham Market, between April 22, 2018 and March 28, 2019.

The court heard that while working for Interex Mercury she fraudulently reimbursed her own bank account for 18 non-existent orders worth £10,276.

On seven other occasions she funded car repairs worth £1,300 into the company’s account.

On Monday (July 11), Mercury returned to court for a Proceeds Act forfeiture hearing, where the agreed profit from her breach was told to be £12,380.

Donal Lawlor, prosecuting, said Mercury was only able to repay £100 and Judge David Pugh made an order for compensation of that sum.

In an earlier hearing, the court heard that in August 2019, Mercury was jailed for 28 months for abusing a position of trust and concealing criminal assets while employed as chief financial officer of First Strokes, based in Ipswich, which offered weekly swimming lessons for children. .

Between April 2016 and January 2018, then named Julie Jenkins, she deposited £32,145 into her own bank account in 57 unauthorized payments disguised in the company’s computer accounting system.

In March last year, Ed Renvoize, for Mercury, said she was questioned by police as she neared the end of her prison term and months after the last offense was reported.

In an interview, Mercury admitted to the offense and told police she used the money to pay off debts.

Mr Renvoize said Mercury’s breach could realistically be seen as a continuing enterprise, caused by a very particular set of circumstances, which led to a woman of hitherto blameless character beginning to dip into the accounts.

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