Court orders Bury St Edmunds woman to repay £72k of £550k she stole from employer

Karen Foster ANL-140204-170726001
Karen Foster ANL-140204-170726001

A woman who stole £550,000 from her Bury St Edmunds employer has been ordered to hand over all her remaining assets to help compensate the company.

Karen Foster, 52, of Andrews Walk, Bury, used her position as a bookkeeper at motor dealer EMG to take around £1,000 a week over a nine year period.

In March Ipswich Crown Court jailed her for two years after she pleaded guilty to four offences of theft and four of false accounting.

Today, Foster was brought back to court for a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing aimed at recouping as much as possible of what she stole.

The court heard specialist financial investigators had established that while Foster benefited from her crimes by £550,000, her available assets amounted to just £72,308, mostly being from her share of her family home.

Recorder Emily Formby directed Foster to hand over the full £72,308 within the next six months.

Foster was warned failure to comply with the deadline would result in two years being added to her prison sentence.

The money will help compensate Foster’s employer EMG Motor Group.

When she appeared in court in March, the prosecution said Foster had begun her offending in January 2004 and continued until December 2012 when she gave herself up to police after another member of staff began investigating accounting discrepancies.

Foster pocketed customers’ cash payments for cars and falsely recorded the transactions as debts on the company’s books.

The court heard Foster, who at the time was earning just over £8 an hour, was making finance repayments for a Range Rover and a Jaguar car at the time of her arrest.