Business manager

Cwmbran pushchair business manager scammed her own ‘shambolic’ business

A MANAGER of a business selling pushchairs took advantage of the ‘chaotic’ way it was run to pocket money for herself.

Kersty Smith defrauded Cwmbran’s Discount Pram Center out of £1,200, prosecutor Roger Griffiths told Cardiff Crown Court.

The 50-year-old was originally charged with alleged £32,000 fraud at the business, but the prosecution later presented no evidence against her.

She pleaded guilty to defrauding the business out of £1,200 by selling a pram to “someone she knew” and keeping the money for herself.

Mr Griffiths said: ‘The business was very poorly managed. Money was left open in shoeboxes.

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Smith, of Clos Cwm Creunant, Pontprennau, Cardiff, had no previous convictions but had a warning for a similar offence.

She is very anxious that prison will destroy her life

The court was told it was linked from 2015 when she worked at the checkouts of the Lidl supermarket on Cowbridge Road West in Cardiff.

Ieuan Bennett, representing Smith, said, “She would undercharge the people she felt sorry for.”

His attorney said his client was a single parent caring for a son in his early 20s as well as his elderly father.

He added that the defendant was mourning the loss of her mother and was in debt at the time of the offense in 2018.

Mr Bennett said: ‘She is very anxious that a prison sentence will destroy her life.’

The court was told that Smith had since found a new job that required him to travel across the country as a supervisor for a cleaning company.

Judge Nicola Saffman told the defendant: ‘You were involved in fraud at the Pram Center over £1,200.

“The circumstances, quite simply, are that you took three cash payments for a pram and kept the money for yourself.

“In an interview you denied any dishonesty and said you were borrowing money and planning to pay it back.

“You have no previous convictions, but you received a very similar warning in 2015.

“You abused a position of trust in your job.

“This abuse was greater due to the somewhat chaotic way the business was run from a financial perspective.

“Consequently, confidence was greater because there was still money lying around.”

Smith was sentenced to a 12-month community order.

She must complete a 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement and complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

The defendant is to repay £1,200 to her former employer in compensation, along with £900 in legal costs and a £95 victim fine surcharge.