A lavish wedding celebration helped snare a bride from Chorley who stole nearly £170,000 from her boss.
Kirsty Lane, 29, from Adlington, laid on a fireworks show, harpist, saxophone player, magician, two bands, a DJ, free bar, face painting and even bought feathered masks for her guests at the elaborate ceremony earlier this year.
But the no-expense-spared celebrations aroused the suspicions of her boss Peter Sutton, of Pure Ave in Leyland, a guest at her wedding, who later discovered the fraud.
Mr Sutton said her ‘unbridled greed’ had almost ruined the business.
Lane had stolen around £168,000 from the company where she’d worked for four years by falsifying invoices in her role as a part-time accounts clerk.
She even purchased bridesmaids dresses using company accounts and bought a £1,500 jewel-encrusted case for her iPad computer, he discovered.
The bride has now admitted to 122 counts of fraud at Leyland Magistrates’ Court for stealing from the audio visual company where she worked until January this year. When she appeared in court she pleaded guilty to 10 counts of fraud worth a total of £38,000 and asked for a further 112 counts of fraud to be taken into consideration.
Mr Sutton said two people lost their jobs because of the ordeal. He said: “It was like she was rubbing our faces in it. It was the wedding that first started to raise alarm bells. Up to that point we had no idea. She was always claiming poverty and didn’t do anything that would tip us off.
“Then the wedding was the most lavish thing I’ve ever seen. I trusted her implicitly and this was how she repaid us.”
The mum-of-one, who lives in Lewis Close, Adlington, married husband Graham in January this year at the Tudor-built Great Hall at Mains venue, in Little Singleton, near Blackpool.
Mr Sutton said he did not suspect anything was amiss until he and colleagues attended the do and were shocked at how ‘elaborate’ the celebrations were.
Days after the wedding, while Lane was off on a mini-break in the Lake District, he claims a routine problem with an account showed financial discrepancies which sparked him to look deeper into the accounts. He found Lane had been using real invoices to existing suppliers to create extra payments into her own bank account for more than two years.
It took two months to uncover the full extent of the deception. She was arrested at her home in Adlington and was not able to go on her planned honeymoon in Mexico.
Mr Sutton says Lane managed to hide the lies for so long because when bosses at the firm, which is based in Talbot Road, Leyland, checked the banking it would only show regular payments to known suppliers without any reference to her account.
Mr Sutton said: “If she had of been in work when the problem surfaced she would have been able to hide it like she had for so long. But because I was already getting suspicious, it all started to come out. It was a very clever, incredibly devious operation that was calculated to Nth degree.
“You read about these things but you never think it will happen to you. It caused a lot of sleepless nights. We are not a large company, a lot of livelihoods depend on us.
“How it didn’t sink us I don’t know. It is only though the sheer determination of the rest of the team that we are still here.”
Mr Sutton said the company even loaned Lane £7,000 and increased her wages after she complained she was struggling financially, despite stealing thousands.
The Guardian spoke to Lane at her home in Adlington but she refused to comment. She has been bailed to appear at Leyland Magistrates’ Court on October 13 ahead of sentencing at Preston Crown Court later.