Jail and £600,000 fine for embezzler

An advocate's wig
An advocate's wig

A former oil industry manager with Angus ties is to hand over nearly £600,000 crime profits to a firm she embezzled out of more than £1.3 million to fund her lifestyle.

Jacqueline McPhie was jailed for three years and four months for the financial crime committed against her former employers earlier this year.

McPhie (46) stole £1,376,935 while working as vice president for finance at Altus Intervention in Aberdeen between March 2013 and April the following year.

McPhie, who has a previous conviction for embezzlement while working as a finance manager for another company, against earnings of £146,848 per year from the firm which supplies equipment for North Sea oil and gas projects.

After she admitted the latest embezzlement the Crown raised proceedings to seize crime profits made by McPhie.

The action settled at the High Court in Edinburgh today with a confiscation order being made in the sum of £587,434 but the money will become payable as compensation to Altus, who it is understood have also recovered more than £200,000 from her.

Defence counsel Tony Lenaghan told Lady Wise, who jailed McPhie, that an agreement had been reached to settle the proceeds of crime action but added there was a “slightly unusual proposal” for dealing with the matter.

Advocate depute Barry Divers said that the £587,434, figure represented McPhie’s “realisable assets” and her benefit from criminal conduct was the £1.376 million she stole from her employer.

McPhie’s assets included a property in Aberdeen, a flat in Stonehaven and a caravan at Montrose, in Angus.

Mr Divers said: “This is a somewhat unusual matter. As well as inviting the court to make a confiscation order the Crown also invites the court to make a compensation order.”

The advocate depute said: “Clearly in a case of this sort there is a loss to her former employers.The Crown would prefer to see the complainers recompensed than for this money to go into the general public purse.”

He asked during a brief hearing that the court vary its sentence on McPhie to include a compensation order for the amount of money recovered in the proceeds of crime action.

McPhie was given six months to pay the confiscation order to Aberdeen Sheriff Court with a direction that it be paid as compensation to her former employer.

Lady Wise said: “With the knowledge of the case that I have I can see why it is in the interests of justice that the orders are made so that the victim of the crime, the company, is recompensed as far as possible.”

During her crime spree McPhie bought an £80,000 Range Rover, spent more than £60,000 on a new garage and driveway, £52,000 on a kitchen and £30,000 on a “bespoke” summer house for the garden.

Mr Lenaghan had earlier told the court that McPhie had felt she was “placed under pressure to provide wealth to her family unit”.

Lady Wise told McPhie in sentencing her that she had had what many people would regard as “an enviable existence”.

She said: “Your motivation can only have been greed to have even more material wealth than your position allowed you to accrue.”