A school treasurer who stole nearly £56,000 in taxpayers’ cash because she felt ‘undervalued’ by education bosses has been spared jail. This is from the Manchester Evening News…
Susan McDiarmid, 52, of Firs Avenue, Ashton-under-Lyne, was handed a two-year suspended jail term at Minshull Street Crown Court after pleading guilty to five counts of fraud and one count of theft.
Over a five-year period she syphoned thousands of pounds from Waterloo Primary School in Ashton-under-Lyne and Broadbent Fold Primary School in Dukinfield in her role as a bursar for several schools across Tameside .
McDiarmid used cheques and school credit cards to filter money away from the schools between 2006 and 2011 as well as purchasing electrical goods for herself from the schools’ accounts.
The fraud unravelled when Tameside council carried out an audit after McDiarmid left her position in November 2011 – she was arrested shortly after.
It emerged she had cashed a total of 14 fraudulent cheques by forging the signatures of colleagues and convincing Waterloo headteacher Lesley Ironmonger to sign blank cheques, saying it would allow more efficient transactions during school holidays.
The court heard McDiarmid, who worked for Tameside council for more than 20 years, went on spending sprees at Argos and other high street stores as she sought a ‘better life for her family’.
She confessed her crimes immediately upon arrest and claimed she had started the scam to pay off her son’s debts but went on to say the thefts had been acts of ‘revenge’ against school chiefs.
Prosecuting, Lisa Boocock said: “She accepted she felt undervalued in the school system and felt she had been taken advantage of by Mrs Ironmonger. She said she’d done it because she wanted revenge on those who had misused her.”
Defending, Ian Ridgeway, said: “She was paying off her son’s debts and wanted a better life for her family. She admitted everything to police before the full extent was uncovered.”
Sentencing McDiarmid to two years in prison suspended for two years, Judge Maurice Greene said: “These are very serious matters in which you used the high degree of trust placed in you to take this money.
“The fact you were entrusted with chequebooks, credit cards and bank money shows you could not have had a greater position of responsibility.
“However, I do have to take into account you pleaded guilty at the earliest possible opportunity and you have showed genuine remorse.”