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Emma Dawkins, from Canterbury, ordered to pay back £1 after stealing £42,000

By Paul Hooper

A mum-of-three, who ripped off a top firm of accounts and financial advisers, has been ordered to repay just £1.

Devious Emma Dawkins, 40, swiped nearly £42,000 from Kreston Reeves - which has offices in St Margaret’s Street, Canterbury - where she had worked for 10 years.

At her trial her barrister told the judge she had wanted to repay the money at £100 a month.

Have you got any of the old coins in your wallet? Library image.
Have you got any of the old coins in your wallet? Library image.

But an investigation into her finances has now revealed she has no assets.

Keith Yardy, prosecuting, told Canterbury Crown Court that despite siphoning off £41,873.67 during her 13-month scam, the available amount which could be claimed under the Proceeds of Crime Act was "nil".

So the judge, Recorder Philip Engelman, ordered Dawkins – who was at the five minute hearing after being released from her year-long sentence – to pay a nominal £1 within a month.

Dawkins, of Godwin Road, Canterbury had pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position.

The Canterbury office of Kreston Reeves
The Canterbury office of Kreston Reeves

Former friends and colleagues told how they felt betrayed by her deception.

Prosecutor Robert De Banzie revealed that Dawkins had worked for Kreston Reeves raising cheques to pay invoices and keeping a digital ledger.

But secretly, she began altering details to cover up her crafty thieving by adding two names before cashing the cheques.

The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court
The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court

Mr De Banzie added that from July 2015 to September the following year, she took 24 cheques.

The fraud was discovered when Kreston Reeves queried irregularities on an invoice with a supplier.

Dawkins then confirmed to her bosses in emails she had stolen the money, and resigned – offering to repay the money at £100 a month.

Daniel Stevenson, defending, said the money was spent on household expenditure and gifts and holidays for the children.

"She is deeply, deeply ashamed of her behaviour," he added.

A spokesman for Kreston Reeves said: “This sophisticated attempt to defraud the firm was uncovered by the firm’s systems and procedures.

“Mrs Dawkins was dismissed pending the firm’s own investigations, and was reported to the police.

“Kreston Reeves takes great pride in the people who work at the firm to provide the very best service we can for our clients.

“The firm extends considerable responsibility to its employees, and in this instance that was abused.

“We are disappointed that Mrs Dawkins did not adhere to the high standards we set.”

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