A financial adviser whose business was failing dipped into the account of clients and stole more than £158,000 before she was discovered.
And this week Angela Lauder, of Victoria Crescent, Selkirk, was jailed for 16 months. She was told it would have been longer if she hadn’t helped police and admitted her crime.
Married Lauder was acting for a husband and wife and on a number of occasions told Friends Provident the couple had signed documents authorising the withdrawal of money from their investment fund.
Between May 2008 and October 2010 from her office at Dunsdale Road in Selkirk, the 43-year-old defrauded Friends Provident of £158,666.
Her lawyer, Mat Patrick, told Selkirk Sheriff Court on Monday: “Her business was struggling at the time.
“She thought she could repay the money, but it went on again and again, and it got out of control. She always thought she could get on top of it, but in the end she couldn’t.”
The defence solicitor went on: “She was full of remorse and co-operated fully with the police when the fraud was discovered.”
Sheriff Peter Paterson told the first offender: “This couple trusted you to look after their money. There was a significant element of breach of trust.”
He said the jail term would have been two years, but took into account the guilty plea and her co-operation with police.
When Lauder was quizzed by police, she told them: “I’m no’ going to lie. I took the money from the account.”
Prosecuting, Tessa Bradley revealed at an earlier hearing: “She didn’t give any explanation why.”
The court was told that in 2007 the couple had £1.7million from a land sale to invest and were introduced to Lauder, and over a period of time invested £700,000 with her assistance and had no cause for concern.
When they retired a lump sum was placed in a high-investment account on Lauder’s advice.
But earlier this year they became dissatisfied and decided to find a different adviser.
One of the funds to be changed was that with Friends Provident and it was found bonds had been cashed, but the couple had not received any payment. A police probe was launched.