Northampton woman who stole £20,000 from wedding centre business jailed

Deborah Owen
Deborah Owen

The manager of a wedding centre business who stole £20,000 from the company’s accounts has been jailed for 10 months.

Deborah Owen, aged 53, of Northampton pleaded to guilty to theft by employee at Bolton Crown Court on Wednesday.

Since 2007, Owen was employed as the manager of the Solitaire Wedding Centre on Blackburn Road, Bolton, and had complete responsibility for the business’s financial matters.

As manager, part of Owen’s responsibilities were also to support and train the young owner of the business.

In 2011, Owen offered to buy the business outright from the owner, and as part of the due diligence process the accounts were submitted to the company’s accountant.

However, this audit revealed some financial irregularities and the owner began to suspect Owen had been stealing money from the wedding centre.

In April 2012, Owen was suspended and Greater Manchester Police’s Fraud Investigation Team were informed.

A full investigation of the shop records revealed that Owen had deliberately falsified shop documents and records to steal up to £20,000 for herself and made concerted efforts to cover her tracks and conceal her deception.

Detective Constable Jon Roman, from GMP’s Fraud Investigation Team, said: “Owen was employed by the business to manage the shop and it’s finances.

“Throughout a period of almost five years, she took advantage of the trust given to her in order to steal a large amount of money that belonged to the shop, taking cash on a daily basis.

“As a result of Owen’s actions, the business has struggled to make ends meet and has had to let members of staff go to reduce running costs.

“Her actions have had a huge impact on people’s lives.”