Employee theft sentence adjourned

Kim Moncrieffe has been sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment for theft from her employer.

On Wednesday morning, Mr. Justice Alexander Henderson allowed her to remain on bail pending appeal.

The judge referred to a matter before the Court of Appeal. That court has been asked to provide updated guidelines for sentencing in cases of theft by employees or other persons in a position of trust.

Moncrieffe was found guilty of 10 counts of theft after a jury trial in September. The total involved was $49,034 from British Caymanian Insurance between 1998 and 2002. The jury found her not guilty on one count and four others were dismissed.

In passing sentence, the judge first set out the background. He said Moncrieffe joined the firm in 1991 and was appointed accounts department manager in 1998. That appointment showed her employers had a considerable amount of trust in her.

Her task was to gather daily receipts, reconcile them with other accounting records and prepare deposit slips for banking the money. The jury’s finding was that, over a period of years, she deposited less than she was required to and she converted the rest to her own use.

It was a well-planned, deliberate course of conduct.

Moncrieffe pleaded not guilty and conducted her defence in a way that suggested other employees may have been responsible for the missing funds. The judge said he considered this an aggravating factor.

He also referred to a conviction in 1985. He said this was the second time Moncrieffe stood before a court having been found guilty of breach of trust. He considered that an aggravating factor.

The judge said a great deal of Cayman’s economy is concerned with offshore finance. The trust of the financial community here and abroad is an essential factor in the success of the business plan of the Cayman Islands.

‘That trust must inevitably be diminished if it is seen that this court treats internal theft lightly,’ he said.

The judge referred to a 1985 UK case that lists factors to consider and how they related to this case:

Quality and degree of trust in the employee, which was substantial;

Period over which the fraud was perpetrated, in this case several years;

Use to which money was put, of which there was no evidence;

Effect of offence on victim, probably minimal, but the effect on public confidence was another question.

Final factor was any special mitigation, but the judger found none.

In addition to the prison term, he ordered that the entire $49,034 be repaid.

On Moncrieffe’s behalf, Howard Hamilton QC explained earlier that she had $15,000 to repay that day and was asking for time to pay the rest. He said she accepted responsibility for the money because it went missing ‘on her watch’.

Mr. Hamilton said his instruction were to file notice of appeal of conviction and sentence. He was assisted by Attorney Margeta Facey-Clarke.

The matter will come back before Mr. Justice Henderson for review on 1 April if the appeal is not decided by then.

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