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Accountant, 40, who used elaborate scheme using nine bank accounts to swindle £400,000 from work to

Kathleen Weir took money from her employers over a seven-year period and blew it on horse racing and football bets

An accountant who used an elaborate scheme to steal £400,000 from her bosses to fund a £1.2 million gambling addiction has been jailed for five years.

Kathleen Weir, of Southampton, Hampshire, took money from her employers over a seven-year period and blew it on horse racing and football bets.

The court heard the 40-year-old, who also goes by the name of Kathleen Griffin, made 8,000 bets over a two-year period through Ladbrokes, Skybet, William Hill and bet365.com.

She started taking money just months after she began working for Elliotts builders' merchants in Southampton, as a deputy head management accountant in 2009.

Her responsibilities included keeping accurate accounts and making payments to HMRC.

Southampton Crown Court heard she made transactions from the firm and used nine different bank accounts in her two surnames to stash the stolen cash.

Weir buried the transactions worth hundreds of thousands of pounds so that her bosses wouldn't see them.

But investigators said she spent all of the money on gambling and put her winnings back into her betting in order to help fund the £1.2 million she spent over the seven year period.

Kathleen Weir, arrives at Southampton Crown Court with a male companion, where she was jailed for five years

It wasn't until 2016 that bosses at the building firm noticed irregularities and launched an internal investigation into the missing funds - after she made 43 money transfers and cashed 72 cheques.

But Weir refused to comment on the investigation, instead blaming others for the errors.

Her sentence comes after a Daily Mail investigation revealed in August how gambling firms used so-called VIP schemes to keep the highest-spending punters hooked on their websites, offering free holidays and sports tickets worth tens of thousands of pounds.

Yesterday in a separate case, Andrew Girling was jailed for four years for plundering more than £1million to feed his online gambling addiction.

Weir started taking money just months after she began working for Elliotts builders' merchants in Southampton, as a deputy head management accountant in 2009.

Pictured: Tom Elliott, MD of Elliotts builders' merchants and Lauren Haines, director of Elliotts outside Southampton Crown Court. Mr Elliott said: 'I feel sorry for her family'

Read more from Daily Mail

My view: Since she gambled the money away then the courts should seize the money from the gambling companies, it is stolen money.

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