Office manager told boss her stepdad died in elaborate scam to embezzle cash

An office support manager lied about her own stepfather’s death as part of an elaborate scam to embezzle thousands of pounds from her employer.

Architect Ian Muir, 54, said Kirsty Kean had told him her father had suffered a heart attack and had subsequently died – but he later found out it was untrue.

It was reported back to him that despite her tragic story about his demise, her stepfather was reported to have been seen alive and well subsequently by another witness.

Office manager told boss her stepdad died in elaborate scam to embezzle cash
The case called at Dundee Sheriff Court

He said it emerged that Kean – who had only worked for the company for a few months – had been paying herself thousands of pounds over and above her wages.

Kean was found guilty of embezzling £5,770.46 after the trial. The trial heard she had set up an unauthorised account with a hotel chain so she could enjoy weekend liaisons with a man.

Dundee Sheriff Court was told that Kean had used the company name to set up a business account with the Premier Inn chain of hotels.

He said she had used this to treat herself and a man to a weekend away in Newcastle, but she had no reason to be working away from the office in St Andrews.

Mr Muir said: “She was responsible for calculating and making payments of wages.” He said he and his wife noticed she had overpaid herself by putting through a gross rather than net sum.

“We had a discussion about it and asked how it could have happened. She said she had made a mistake and it was an error and she apologised for it and said she would pay it back.

“We were surprised there was a mistake because she was quite fastidious about everyone else’s payments, but we were willing to accept it was a genuine error.”

Mr Muir said he and his wife and business partner Reseda came home from holiday a short time later and discovered Kean had given herself two payments of £2,300.

“We discovered unfortunately that Miss Kean had taken additional monies. We didn’t authorise any payment of such figures. It had been put to Kirsty Kean’s account.

“It was quite tricky because she said her [step] father had had a heart attack and she needed time off. The bank advised Mrs Muir that the payment card used to withdraw the sum was Kirsty Kean’s personal card.

“She basically just said it wasn’t her, she didn’t do it, and she was horrified that we might even think it was her. She denied it was anything to do with her.”

In a series of detailed texts shown to the court, Kean claimed her [step]father had died and gave the couple information about the ‘funeral.’

“Her employment came to an end in December [2017] when we found out she had been lying about her [step]father and it sadly taught us how much of an idiot we had been to believe everything she said.”

He said analysis of the company’s Xero accounting software package showed unexplained money movements and said “what she was doing was trying to balance the books.

“I discovered she had set up a business account with a hotel group and had stayed in Newcastle and charged our business account £270.

“You tend to trust people to do their jobs, which is what we did here – much to our regret.”

Kean, 43, Blaefaulds Crescent, Denny, was found guilty of embezzling £5,770.46 while employed as office support manager at Walker & Pryde Architects in St Andrews between 30 July and 31 October 2017.

She had claimed the accusations against her were “scurrilous” and made by her employer because she had been whistleblowing to HMRC about their financial practices.

She also claimed money was being transferred “automatically” into her bank account, but was unable to explain why £700 was paid out to a travel agent on the same day she had helped herself to £2,000 of the company’s money.

Sentence was deferred for the preparation of reports.

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