Hull charities miss out after IT worker Donna Keable steals £34K of laptops and iPads
CHARITIES will miss out on thousands of pounds of donations after a woman stole iPads and other computer equipment from the company she worked for.
Donna Keable, 31, was an officer manager at IT specialists Paragon Data Services, in Geneva Way, east Hull, and used her position to steal more than £34,000-worth of iPads, laptops and flat-screen televisions.
Keable ordered hundreds of items, worth between £200 and £500 each, then sold them on eBay and to friends – including some working at Hull Magistrates' Court – for less than they were worth.
Company managing director Iain Bland said East Yorkshire charities will now lose out on vital funds as the firm tries to manage the shortfall.
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He revealed the firm donates more than £30,000 a year to the area's charities, including the Charlie Hook Appeal and the Smile Foundation, and sponsors kits and match days for local children's sporting teams.
Mr Bland said: "I think what she did is absolutely disgusting.
"It has had an impact on the company and put people's livelihoods at risk.
"If we had not caught her when we did there is not a shadow of a doubt it would have had an impact on our staff numbers and our business.
"We are only a small business and it is not like we have got millions of pounds in the bank.
"As a business we donate at least £30,000 a year to various local charities, including children's charities such as the Smile Foundation, but that will not happen now.
"We have to make up the lost money as a business and we can't afford to make the donations for the forthcoming year.
"This is the worst part of her theft – that it is these charities who are the ultimate victims because they need this money and we just can't do it now.
"A substantial part of the money she stole was over the last year. She was getting greedier and greedier.
"She was one of our most trusted staff members. She even came to my wedding and we let her run the company when we were away – that is the level of trust we had in her. We never suspected this."
Mr Bland believes Keable stole more than £62,000-worth of goods but she pleaded guilty to fraud at Hull Crown Court on the basis she took just over £34,000-worth.
A proceeds of crime hearing is due to be heard in the coming months, where the police's economic crime unit will be looking to seize all Keable's assets which are believed to have been gained by her criminality.
Keable of Swaledale Avenue, east Hull, was caught when she went on holiday to Ibiza.
While she was away her colleagues spotted rogue invoices for £4,000-worth of iPads and launched an audit, that revealed she had been defrauding the company.
Detective Constable Dave Jackitts said: "She was living beyond her means at the expense of this company and was spending the money on holidays and weekends away.
"Keable was welcomed into the business as a personal friend and betrayed their trust. She was taken on and then set about a lengthy and calculated campaign of theft to fund her lavish lifestyle and she would have carried on if she hadn't been caught by the diligence of the firm's accountant.
"It has clearly impacted on a small firm and will affect a number of people and charities.
"Luckily, it was discovered when it was, before it had an even greater impact on the company."
The court heard Keable created a false company in Liverpool and ordered goods for it, she then placed the items on eBay or sold them on.
Keable pleaded guilty to fraud and was given a ten-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work in the community.