£12k fraudster had holiday days before conviction

Gemma Graham convicted of embezzling �12,000 from her lettings agency employer. Picture: Vic Rodrick
Gemma Graham convicted of embezzling �12,000 from her lettings agency employer. Picture: Vic Rodrick
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An office worker who stole thousands of pounds from her employers was holidaying in the sun just days before she was convicted.

Gemma Graham was pictured on Facebook sunning herself in a Majorcan swimming pool shortly before her trial finished.

Gemma Graham was pictured sunning herself in Majorca not long before her conviction. Picture: Vic Rodrick

Gemma Graham was pictured sunning herself in Majorca not long before her conviction. Picture: Vic Rodrick

The 33-year-old – who was found guilty yesterday of embezzling more than £12,000 from a Bathgate lettings agency – told detectives who interviewed her that she had no money.

Graham, of Redhouse Place, Blackburn, had denied embezzlement and showed no emotion or remorse throughout the trial, which lasted for more than 12 months.

Livingston Sheriff Court heard that she was responsible for keeping envelopes containing cash payments from Castlebrae’s clients in the top drawer of her desk.

But over the course of nearly two years a total of 48 of the envelopes containing various amounts of money went missing from a locked drawer for which she was responsible.

You might have thought she’d notice some of the packages going missing

Stewart Houston

Stewart Houston, prosecuting, said: “She was a full-time employee and on the days she wasn’t at work no money went missing.”

He said Graham had admitted to police she was “up to my eyes” in debt and had seen her earnings arrested over council tax debts of nearly £3000. He said: “The accused’s position is that she didn’t take the money and didn’t know who did – the whole thing’s a mystery.

“Surely if she has the key to the drawer over that lengthy period of time you might have thought she would have noticed some of these packages going missing? Not one.”

Anna Murphy, defending, said there had been conflicting evidence about whether the cash drawer had been locked all the time and claimed there was no evidence that Graham – and not someone else – had taken the cash.

Finding Graham guilty, Sheriff Susan Baird told her that there was “overwhelming” evidence she had taken the money.

She said: “Mr Houston has worked very hard to put together all the pieces of the jigsaw. I don’t think there are pieces missing in this case and I’m perfectly satisfied that it’s proper for me to convict you.

“I’m calling for a criminal justice social work report because of the seriousness of this matter and your personal circumstances.”

She warned Graham that all sentencing options, including prison, remained open and advised her to make arrangements for the care of her teenage daughter before returning to court next month.

newsen@edinburghnews.com