A BOOKKEEPER who fleeced a care home for £78,000 has been spared jail.
Kirsty Whitfield, 49, appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday 21 September, after admitting two frauds by abuse of position and one count of theft by employee.
As reported, Whitfield, of Spiney Close, Selsey, had worked for Platinum Home Care in Selsey from 2005 to 2016.
She lied to her manager saying she could not pay all the employees' wages on the same day from the company account, instead using her own personal account.
This meant she could take the cash.
An internal investigation was launched when HMRC visited the firm in June 2016 claiming they were owed £76,000 in tax and national insurance contributions.
When Whitfield returned from an eight-week trip to America she handed in her notice and quit.
Sussex police arrested her in December 2016.
She was later handed a six-month sentence suspended for two years for each count of fraud by abuse of position and 20-month prison sentence, also suspended for two years, for the theft. She was also given 75 hours of unpaid work and a rehabilitation order.
Detectives found she had stolen £77,944.61. Officers also discovered that Whitfield had submitted fraudulent NHS invoices, amounting to £31,603.18 and £10,432.47 in duplicate payments.
Detective Constable Paul Gilmour said: 'Kirsty Whitfield was trusted by her employer to manage the monthly payroll and process company invoices, but she abused that position for her own gain.
'Her offending risked the loss of employment for more than 50 care workers and the subsequent care of many vulnerable adults in the local community.'
David Whitfield, 53, from Selsey was charged with two counts of concealing, disguising, converting, transfering or removing criminal property. These charges were later dropped by the prosecution at court.