A lettings administrator who stole over £14,000 in tenants’ deposits has escaped jail.
Julie Feilden, 51, stole the money over a six-year period, and has now been given a six-month prison sentence suspended for two years. She has also been ordered to do 120 hours unpaid work and pay £1,250 costs. She admitted 13 charges.
She was employed by Smiths Gore in Newmarket, Suffolk, where her job involved collecting tenants’ deposits. Where cash was accepted, this had to be logged and put in the stationery store under lock and key. Feilden had the keys to the store, and part of her job was to bank the money and do the paperwork for the deposits.
Ipswich Crown Court heard that in 2015 there were redundancies, which included Feilden’s role. At the end of the year, the business was sold to Savills.
Despite being made redundant, she asked to take the books home with her in order to get them up to date.
It took several months to retrieve these books, and it was then that the thefts were discovered.
When Feilden, who has no previous convictions, was interviewed by police she made full admissions, the court was told.
Feilden, who represented herself, told the court she was “very sorry” for what she had done.
Savills acquired 31-branch agent Smiths Gore in 2015 for a staggered payment of up to £40m. The announcement at the time said that Smiths Gore had an unaudited revenue of £30.8m and gross assets of £14.9m, with profit before tax and partners’ drawings at £6.3m.
A spokesman for Savills said: “Savills can confirm that Julie Feilden was an employee of Smiths Gore, based in its Newmarket high street office from 2010-2015 when these offences took place.
“Smiths Gore was subsequently acquired by Savills.
“No clients suffered a loss as a consequence.”