Car dealership bookkeeper jailed for stealing £550,000

A bookkeeper for a car dealership in Bury St Edmunds has been jailed for two years after stealing over half a million pounds from customers.

Karen Foster, 52, pleaded guilty to four counts of theft and a further four counts of false accounting at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday (28 March). She has since been sentenced to two years in jail with further court action pending in June this year to recover the £550,000 she took from customers.

Needless to say it is very important for any car dealership to have its books in order, and an important part of this is making sure you have a motor trade insurance policy that comprehensively covers all of the firm’s business activity, tools, staff and vehicles. Trust, transparency and honesty – all things that were negated here – are crucial in this process and will help a company secure the best deal to suit its needs.

In the case of Ms Foster, the court heard that the bookkeeper's illegal activity while working at the EMG car dealership in Fornham Road took place between 2004 and 2012. A police investigation uncovered that she had taken cash payments from customers, recorded them as debts and kept the money.

Ms Foster gave herself up in December 2012 when company officials became suspicious about the activity. At the time of her arrest she was being paid eight pounds an hour but was making repayments on a Range Rover and a Jaguar.

In mitigation, Ms Foster’s defence team stated that it was unclear why the missing money had gone unnoticed for so long.