Woman who embezzled £220,000 from Fringe festival avoids jail

Lynn Taylor. Picture: Lesley Donald
Lynn Taylor. Picture: Lesley Donald

A former financial manager of the Fringe Society has been spared jail after embezzling almost quarter of a million pounds from her employers.

Lynn Taylor, 56, had previously pled guilty to embezzling £220,331.12 from the Society between June 1, 2008, and March 13, 2015.

Taylor started work with the Society as a Chartered Accountant in 1994.

In January 2015, arrangements were being made for a new company pension scheme.

Taylor was asked for details of the existing pensions between November 2014 and January 2015.

When this was not forthcoming, investigations showed that employer contribution payments were being made directly into Taylor’s personal bank account.

Taylor was unable to explain how this had happened, but voiced concern that she might have overpaid herself.

When interviewed by police, Taylor told them: “I’m not going to deny something I did. It has totally destroyed my life and I am never going to work again.”

The court was told she had repaid all the money and an extra £40,000 to meet the costs of the investigation.

John Scullion QC, appearing for Taylor, said the money had come from the sale of the family home in Edinburgh.

Taylor and her husband had gone to Portugal when he retired, but only rented a house there and had returned to Edinburgh.

She suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following the deaths of family members in 2002-3.

She had, he pointed out, accepted responsibility at the first interview with her employers and when 
questioned by the police in 2016 had instructed solicitors to resolve the case.

Taylor, he said, had done everything possible to make amends and, he added: “In my experience it is highly unusual for someone to pay back more than what had been taken.”

Sheriff Frank Crowe said he noted what Mr Scullion had said about Taylor being badly affected by the death of her brother and other close family members.

He added: “It does appear much of the money embezzled was used by you in the owning of horses and participating in showjumping activities.”

He said he took into account her lack of previous convictions, the early plea of guilty and early and full repayment of the money.

“It is clear you are at low risk of re-offending and accordingly I have decided, after much thought, to impose a non-custodial sentence,” he said.

He placed Taylor on an eight-month Restriction of Liberty Order confining her to her house between 9pm to 6am and ordered her to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.