Estate agent defrauded

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Two former employees of West Country estate agent Miller Countrywide have been branded ‘thoroughly dishonest people’ after pleading guilty to fraud charges at Truro County Court.

The two, Tanya Roberts and Susan Garratt, had stolen just over £73,000 from their employer. The offences took place between 2016 and 2018 when both worked in the administration department at the estate agent’s Camborne office.

Roberts had been with the firm since 2009, and Garratt since 2003.

Acting together, the two had submitted false invoices for £450 per week to Miller over a period of 18 months, and also made false mileage claims.

The fraud was discovered by an internal investigation during which Roberts confessed to presenting false invoices. Further investigation followed in which fraudulent claims for fuel expenses were uncovered.

In total £33,750 had been taken through false invoices, and a further £39,557 in false mileage claims.

Both defendants had resigned from Miller before the internal investigation had been  completed, and the fraud was not reported to the police until April 2019, Judge Robert Linford was told.

Roberts had previous convictions for theft from an employer. After resigning she wrote to Miller to apologise and to say that she intended to repay the stolen money. She was yet to make any repayments.

Garratt had to date repaid £7,000 to her former employer.

Roberts received a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work. Garratt was sentenced to 22 months jail, suspended for two years, and told to perform 200 hours of unpaid work.

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