Published: 06:00, 19 September 2021
A business owner whose devious employee stole more than £27,000 from the company believes more than four times that amount was actually taken.
Office manager Selena Cronin "set out to destroy" Hand Media, in Hunton, near Maidstone, by pilfering thousands of pounds, which he believes the real amount to be a "substantial six-figure sum".
Now managing director David Rossiter has spoken out about how the business was "choked" by the deceit and revealed the 41-year-old began pocketing money on her first day of the job.
He bought the business in 2000 and employs 15 people and was forced to re-finance the whole business from his own pocket.
Despite losing out on thousands of pounds, Mr Rossiter said seeing Cronin put behind bars was what he wanted.
He said: “I was asked if we should push for a custodial sentence and I said I wanted her to be punished.
“The priority was to get her behind bars so she doesn’t do it to someone else. She’s stolen once and if I didn’t stand up to her she was free to do it again.
“She needed to be stopped and punished – I would’ve liked to see her get a three-year sentence.
“On the day she got the bank details she started stealing."
Mr Rossiter was forced to borrow money from his father to pay for his wedding.
During the court hearing it was revealed Cronin had been given a caution by the Metropolitan Police in 2014 for a £20,000 fraud against a previous employer.
"I've spoken to my legal team about suing the company she was recruited from," Mr Rossiter added.
"It's amazing it slipped through the cracks.
"She knew exactly what she was doing. The day she got access to the bank accounts she was stealing.
"There was a two-week handover from my previous office manager, who was a trusted employee for 14 years, and from day one she stole and it was a clever, sophisticated plan."
After being sentenced to 19 months in prison, Judge Catherine Moore told the thief: “You set out to destroy the business and when it was plain there was nothing left for you to take, you simply walked out the door taking the cash tin with you as you went.
“The impact on the business was profound. Mr Rossiter describes a business that was taken to the brink of collapse by your selfish and considered actions.
"You completely destroyed his trust in you.”