A woman who embezzled more than £160,000 from two oil firms has been jailed for more than two years.
Dawn Peter, 33, swindled the cash over three years while working as a payroll boss in Aberdeen.
The city’s sheriff court heard the mother-of-one fiddled tax returns to make 69 separate payments to herself and went shopping with the cash despite spiralling debts.
Peter’s marriage broke down when her husband discovered what she had been doing. He was initially incriminated in the scam but the charges were later dropped.
Her previous employers, Aberdeen-based RBG and Helix Energy Solutions, are now suing her for the total amount embezzled and she will have to sell the family home in a bid to pay it back.
Peter, of Tarves, Aberdeenshire, stole £70,540.08 from oil and gas exploration services firm RBG over a two-year period between October 2007 and February 2009.
She then went on to steal a further £91,307.70 from subsea construction services firm Helix Energy Solutions, between June 2009 and May last year.
She admitted the offences in March and sentence had been deferred.
Fiscal depute Neil Shand said Peter would enter her own bank account details into a computer system so that tax rebate payments would be made to her and change them back once the money had been transferred.
He said she had also brazenly emailed other payroll department staff and duped them into making transfers into her own bank account.
Mr Shand said she admitted to police what she had done after the missing cash came to light with her first employers and a probe was then launched at the second company.
He said: “She said she had debt collectors at her door, she had mortgage arrears and had been shopping when she shouldn’t have been.”
Defence lawyer Steven Borthwick said Peter had already handed over nearly £10,000 in compensation to the companies and anticipated she could hand over a potential £80,000 from the sale of her house.
He said: “Effectively Mrs Peter succumbed to temptation in the face of mounting debt and a debt situation which quite simply spiralled out of control.”
Mr Borthwick said the house keys had now been handed back to the mortgage lender.
He said Peter’s mother, who had been helping her through her financial struggles, had passed away since her crimes came to light.
He said: “To a very real extent, Mrs Peter blames herself for her mother’s death.”
Sheriff Malcolm Garden sentenced Peter to two years and four months behind bars.
He said: “Embezzlement by its very nature means taking money from someone with whom you’re in a position of trust. Clearly in this case both of your employers held you in sufficient regard to put you in a management position and that was a trust you abused for your own purposes.”