Finance manager faked terminal cancer for time off

Finance manager faked terminal cancer for time off

A Finance Manager who faked having cancer frauded her employer out of £17,000.

Teresa Clay, who was employed by Farsight Recruitment, not only lied about having terminal cancer to take time off, but she abused her position as finance manager by transferring money from her colleagues’ accounts to hers.  

Since March last year, Clay made nine transactions totalling £17,345. According to a Derby Telegraph report, she stole £1,000 after just three days of starting her new role.

Derby Crown Court heard that the 47-year-old’s fraudulent behaviour was only discovered when she took time off work for her alleged diagnosis – the Derby Telegraph reports.

However, this isn’t the first time Clay was caught stealing from her employers. The court hearing found she was sentenced in 2012 and 2015 for theft.

Tony Stanford, prosecuting, said Clay was “utterly dishonest from the outset. It is an offence that is solely motivated by greed.”

After pleading guilty, Clay has been jailed for 20 months.

Speaking after sentencing, Tom Dean, Chief Executive Officer of Farsight Recruitment, said: “Teresa’s actions during her time with us were terrible. Even now the lies and deceit are difficult to fathom.

“Fortunately, we unearthed the theft relatively quickly and reported the fraud to the police before serious damage could be done, but we lost a lot of time and money investigating what had happened and getting the accounts back in order.”

Whilst Clay’s case is both shocking and rare, it highlights the tricky nature of employee screening. It’s not clear as to whether Clay’s employers were aware of her past, however, with employers being urged to give former ex-offenders a second chance, it’s a fine line to tread.

Furthermore, the case also sheds light on the precarious nature of managing sickness.  

As this area of staff management can throw up legal issues, it’s important that employers, as well as HR, follow strict guidelines and procedure.

Emma O’Leary, Employment Law Consultant for ELAS Group, notes: “As an employer you are perfectly entitled to challenge the authenticity of an absence; if an excuse seems too far-fetched then ask for evidence if appropriate.” 

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Comments (2)

  • Hayley
    Tue, 23 Jan 2018 1:58pm GMT
    It would also seem to me that their management of a sick employee is not very good. I would generally be looking for ways to support the employee and so engaging with Occupational Health or an Early Intervention program could have highlighted much sooner that she did not in fact have Cancer.
  • I-COM
    Tue, 23 Jan 2018 12:52pm GMT
    It seems to me the recruitment agency were quite lucky under the new GDPR the consequences for the business could have been much more extreme as the culprit could easily have done something with the personal data to which she had access.
    Proper vetting of people with access to personal data is critical.

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