Maclays employee gets community service for embezzlement

A former Maclay Murray & Spens employee been ordered to perform 166 hours of community service for embezzling more than £5,000 while working at the firm.

Karen Ward, understood to have been an events manager at Maclays’ Edinburgh office, had earlier pleaded guilty to embezzling £5505.09 between 10 March 2010 and 19 July 2011, according to reports on The Scotsman. Ward no longer works at the firm.

Defence solicitor Cheryl Beattie told Sheriff Neil McKinnon at the sentencing that Ward had repaid the money and highlighted a social work report that described how Ward had been in debt and saw no other way out than to take the money, which she had easy access to.

Sheriff McKinnon described Ward’s crimes as “a significant breach of trust”. But Ward’s early guilty plea, combined with the fact that she had repaid the money, meant that McKinnon dealt with the offence by way of a community payback order and reduced the number of hours of unpaid work Ward was required to do from 250 to 166. Ward has six months to complete the order.

A spokesperson for Maclays said: “[Maclays] has a zero tolerance policy for any infringement of this nature and we welcome the clear message this verdict sends. The former employee did not have access to client funds or confidential information.”