A CIRENCESTER property manager who defrauded her employer out of more than £45,000 has been sentenced to a suspended two-year prison term. 

Sarah Walsh, aged 34, of Stratton Heights, Cirencester, pleaded guilty to abusing her position of trust at Cannon Estates Sales & Letting to make financial gains for herself between October 1, 2021 and February 28 this year.

The case was heard at Gloucester Crown Court on Thursday, November 30.

Walsh was employed as a part-time administrator for the estate agent in The Woolmarket, Cirencester and began training as a property manager in October 2020, said Philip Allman, prosecuting.

As part of her role she would carry out inspections on the rental portfolio and handle the administration side of the company where she had access to its bank accounts and paid invoices, he said.

The court heard that discrepancies in the business's finances were first noticed when Walsh went on holiday to the Dominican Republic.

The individual amounts ranged from £100 to £1,000 with most withdrawals being made in the £500 range and dating back to October 1, 2021.

But it wasn’t until February this year, after the company had undertaken a financial investigation, that Walsh’s fraudulent activity was fully exposed.

It was found that the amount she had acquired from the business totalled £45,222.

The investigation revealed that she had set up an elaborate system to disguise her activity and altered the way clients were paid and notified.

Walsh was subsequently arrested by police and charged.

Pina Silvio defending, explained that Walsh’s mother paid back the £45,222 to Cannon Estates and emphasised that her client was remorseful and had indicated her guilt at the magistrates’ court at the earliest opportunity.

She explained that Walsh initially had a debt of £20,000 that she needed to pay off and chose to defraud the company she worked for to do this. 

She admitted that Walsh didn't stop when this was achieved and continued to defraud the company to live a lavish life style that included many foreign holidays.

Judge Rupert Lowe sentenced Walsh to two years imprisonment suspended for two years. 

He ordered that she attend 14 rehabilitation activity requirement days, undertake 200 hours of unpaid work and pay court costs of £425.