How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Jo C. Your Own Question
Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71048
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
Type Your Law Question Here...
Jo C. is online now

I've been stealing money from my employers bank account.

Customer Question

Hi - I've been stealing money from my employers bank account. Approximately £20,000. They have now contacted the police. Why do I do?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Are you asking what sentence you will face?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes. And what will happen now the police have been contacted?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I presume you have no previous?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have never committed any crimes. I am 28 years old. Married. Been working as an accountant for 6 years.
I have been in a dark place. My dad has been severely depressed and has lost everything. I used the money to pay off payday loans and it all just got on top of me
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Are they going to be able to prove all of it?
Have you admitted it?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes they can prove it and I have admitted it
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
can you repay any of it?
Are you the only accountant?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I could sell possessions to repay some of it, but not anywhere near the whole amount. Maybe £5000 maximum. I'm the only person in the business responsible for finance. It is a business of 8 employees
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I am sorry but I'm afraid that is not good.
There's no way around the fact that this is a small business and you are the person in charge of finance and so a very high degree of trust is imposed in you.
It is fair to say that this is not the highest amounts that are caught will have seen but, of course, they are a small business and so it might be a very valuable sum to them.
In relation to the police investigation are they will probably just invite you in for interview. It is quite unlikely that they would bother to arrest you over this as apart from anything else it is far less labour-intensive for them if you attend voluntarily.
Do not refuse the solicitor that you will be offered. However, he will almost certainly tell you to make a no comment interview as you cannot offer a defence and there is no prospect of caution.
I'm afraid that the sentencing guidelines are not in your favour. If the court says that you have breached a high degree of trust then the starting point is three years custody and the range is two years to six years. I think probably, all things being equal, you would fall into the lower sentencing bracket though and that recommends a starting point of two years custody and a range of twelve months to three years.
You would get a third credit for a guilty plea so that would reduce automatically and you would only serve half. That might just knock it under twelve months and so the court would have to then consider suspending your sentence rather than sending you to prison immediately.
If you can repay even something that is very helpful and the court will probably make a compensation order anyway so you will end up paying it in the long run.
I'm very sorry but I have to give you truthful information.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The solicitor that the police offer, will that be free of charge, if not, how much will it be?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
The police station is covered by legal aid.
The Court process might be a bit more complicated but at least get through the police station without admitting to offences.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What's the reason behind me not admitting the offences? How long will this process take - from me being interviewed to being in court/potentially being sentenced? I am due to go and visit family in Canada next week, will this affect my trip?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
There is no point in admitting offences at the police station.
It is very unlikely that they will be able to prove all of these removals are down to you. If you hadn't admitted it at the outset it might well have turned into a much lower amount with corresponding sentences.
Usually about ten weeks. Usually ten days to the first court appearance but the Magistrates would send it to the Crown Court for sentence so another few weeks.
No, you are still free to go to Canada. You are not on bail with conditions not to leave the country.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So do I just wait for the police to contact me? Then get a solicitor at the station? And not speak to the police until I've spoken to the solicitor?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, absolutely.
Anything could happen. They might not report you. People don't sometimes.
Truth is, this type of crime isn't getting much priority at the moment because the police are making much better use of public money by investigating false allegations made by people with a history of making false claims against dead people. You might be lucky. They are not really concentrating much on proper crime.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
My employers have told me that they have reported the crime, because they want to make an insurance claim and they can't do it without a crime reference number
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
yes, but they may not support the prosecution.
Anything can happen with these things. CPS may fail to get the papers ready in time, they could lose exhibits. Obviously you can't rely on that but you want to take advantage of it if it happens.
My trial earlier this week involved something who had to plead to GBH because he had admitted it in interview even though the witnesses didn't attend.
Silence is golden.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So the police may decide to do nothing with it? What if I'm asked to go to court whilst I'm away out of the country? Is mandatory that I attend or would it be rescheduled?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
It is quite unlikely they will do nothing at all.
What is more likely is that they will deal with the matter but it won't get priority because apparently investigating allegations that somebody tried to kiss another in the 1970s is more important.
In addition to that though, anything can happen. Your employers may not give evidence.
If you are out of the country they will just arrange a date that you can do.
In the end, if you keep refusing they will come and arrest you but it isn't likely to come to that.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If I were to be jailed what would happen to things like my rent needing paying? Other contracts (telephone, Sky etc)?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I'm afraid that a custodial term does tend to have a fairly disastrous effect upon financial affairs.
Rent is the least of worries really. If a person is away from a property for a period of time landlords will just presume abandonment and gain entry.
Other contracts are still enforceable against you whether in custody or not although the reality is that creditors are not going to sue as you would have no money to pay.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Do you rate my chances as quite high of getting a custodial sentence?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Are you female?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Male. 28 years old. Married. No children.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Probably 60-40 in favour of a suspended sentence.
The guidelines do say custody is inevitable but courts often do find a way around it.
If you were female you would certainly avoid custody but I'm afraid men can't play the victim in quite the same way.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok. So just to clarify. My employers have told me today that they've told the police. If they have, the police will call me? Or visit me? Either way I'll be asked to go the station. At which stage I'll be questioned and should respond 'no comment' (and that won't have a negative affect on my outcome?). I'll be offered a solicitor....
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
they could visit but I would expect a call. They would much prefer you to go into them than have to come and get you.

The risk of a no comment interview is that inferences can be drawn if a defence is subsequently raised. It is still a lot safer than making comment and risking admitting offences.