A RUGBY woman who said spending money made her feel better over being bullied at work funded it by stealing more than £58,000 from her Coventry employers over an 18-month period.
But despite having also put in place another £16,500 of payments due to go into her account by the time she was caught, accountant Agnieszka Kosinska has escaped being jailed.
Kosinska, 40, of Foxons Barn Road, Rugby, appeared at Warwick Crown Court after pleading guilty to charges of theft, attempted theft and false accounting.
She was sentenced to 20 months in prison suspended for two years, with a rehabilitation activity for 40 days, and was ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work.
The mother-of-two also faces a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act which was adjourned until May for an investigation into her finances.
Geoffrey Dann, prosecuting, said that Kosinska was employed as the company accountant for Zetor Ltd.
Describing her as ‘a qualified chartered accountant,’ he said she worked at the company, based in Exhall, Coventry, from March 2017 until she left in October 2019.
Her successor then became aware of a number of invoices which appeared to have been paid twice, so she contacted the bank which sent back a spreadsheet of payments.
It revealed that duplicate payments totalling just over £70,000 had been processed between February 2018 and September 2019 – of which £58,686 had been paid and a further £16,500 had been set up for payment.
The spreadsheet showed the fraudulent payments had been made into three accounts, one of which was recognised as the account into which Kosinska’s salary had also been paid.
So the police were notified and she was arrested, and Mr Dann said that when she was interviewed ‘she made full admissions that she had stolen all of this money.’
Kosinska, who was not legally represented, told the court: “First of all, I am so sorry.”
She said she had worked at the company for two-and-a-half years, during which she had been subjected to bullying, and said: “I never worked with a company like this before.”
Recorder Mark Watson told her: “Mud-slinging at the company is not going to help.”
Kosinska, who has two teenage children, said she was not a qualified chartered accountant, and added: “I feel so bad. I cannot forgive myself. I am sorry.
“I just want to say when I steal this money I know I was doing wrong. I feel so ashamed. I just took this money because I was bullied at work and I felt better when I spent money.”
Sentencing her, Recorder Watson told Kosinska: “You were employed as an accountant/bookkeeper. It was a position of trust, regardless of who else had access to the accounts and finances. Your responsibility was something that you abused in order to get money for yourself.
“You say you were treated badly. I do not make any findings as to that, and in many ways it does not help your cause because it means you were getting revenge on the company.
“I accept there is a great degree of remorse, and I am mindful of your difficulties and of your family.
“Given that this is your first conviction, and one for which you have shown true and genuine remorse, I can draw back from imposing immediate custody.”