A WOMAN who embezzled over £239,000 from a printing company she worked for almost caused the business to go bust.

Sarah Cockburn stole the cash while working for James McVicar Printers as an accounts manager between January 2013 and July 2019.

Cockburn, 33, used the company’s systems to make 799 payments totalling £239,207.28 to bank accounts in her name.

She left the company “amicably” last July but found herself in the dock following an investigation into a missing British Gas payment.

The company’s owner was forced to take action to keep the business a going concern which included no staff pay rises

Cockburn pleaded guilty today at Glasgow Sheriff Court to embezzlement.

The court heard Cockburn worked for the company for six years as an accounts manager.

The fraud was snared after the company accounts were investigated following an outstanding £28,000 bill with British Gas.

Cockburn claimed British Gas had lost the payment.

But, British Gas are still pursuing the company for the missing cash.

Cockburn left the company in July 2019 before the investigation took place.

Prosecutor Claire Wallace said: “She manipulated financial systems of the company which involved the creation of false payments.

“The accused would divert the money to her two personal bank accounts.

“She held a third bank account where her salary was paid.”

Cockburn had access to financial systems and full control over making payments on the online banking account of the company.

The original sum was believed to have been £159,000 but on further investigation the amount was “far higher.”

Cockburn attended the police station in November 2019 for an interview on suspicion of embezzlement.

She gave no comment replies in respect of the fraud.

The court heard that the printing company had to make significant business changes to remain “a going concern.”

The company had to sell its largest printing press and the owner invested £70,000 from his private pension and premium bonds.

He also had to release £60,000 in capital from another company owned by him.

Miss Wallace added: “The company made a loss and couldn’t afford to give pay rises to staff.

“Five people left because of this and they couldn’t afford to replace them.”

The ordeal caused “stress and anxiety” for the owner who is on medication.

Lawyer Ross Yuill, defending, told the court that Cockburn was a first offender with two children.

He added: “She knows she will be going into custody for reports to be prepared.”

Sentence was deferred until next month by Sheriff Andrew Cubie.

He told Cockburn: “Embezzling nearly £250,000 over a five year period shows an abundance of selfishness and a gross betrayal of the trust placed on you by your employer.

“This has had a direct negative and disastrous consequences for a number of people both financially and otherwise.

“You are right to recognise only a substantial period in prison will follow.”

Cockburn, from the city’s Garthamlock, was remanded in custody meantime.