Northern Ireland

Woman jailed for stealing more than £450,000 from car dealership must pay back £132,000

Norma Smyth (48) has been given six months to pay compensation to Edwin May Ltd
Norma Smyth (48) has been given six months to pay compensation to Edwin May Ltd Norma Smyth (48) has been given six months to pay compensation to Edwin May Ltd

A woman jailed for stealing more than £450,000 from a car dealership is to pay back just over £132,000, a judge has ordered.

Judge Alistair Devlin allowed Norma Smyth (48) six months to pay compensation to Edwin May Ltd.

Prosecuting counsel Suzanne Gallagher reminded the court that if Smyth failed to pay, “she is liable to serve up to five years imprisonment".

Confiscation proceedings at Antrim Crown Court arose after Smyth abused her position of trust within Edwin May Ltd to steal £452,787 over more than a decade.

Four months ago, mother-of-three Smyth was handed a three year sentence, half to be spent in jail and half under supervised licence conditions, after she admitted abusing and exploiting her position of trust in Edwin May Ltd.

From the Duncrun Road in Limavady, she admitted stealing £437,824 and also that she accessed company accounts to apply funds to the value of £14,962 “in settlement of your personal invoices and car finance repayments".

The court heard how Smyth, who at the time was the site administrator, transferred credits and bonuses to accounts where customers’ cash payments were lodged and she would then withdraw the cash.

In court on Tuesday, Ms Gallagher said prosecution and defence counsel Barry Gibson had agreed on a figure of £132,047.

Mr Gibson said now there was an agreed figure before the court, the defence would now have to go to the High Court to release funds in bank accounts which had been frozen during the investigation.

As a result of the marital home being remortgaged, £118,000 was held in one such account, said the barrister and Judge Devlin concluded the case by granting the compensation order in favour of Edwin May Ltd.