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JCT600 saleswoman caught after pocketing £24k of buyers’ deposits

A saleswoman at a car dealership in Yorkshire was caught ripping off the AM100 dealer group JCT600 after she’d asked customers to pay her cash deposits, against company policy.

While Donna O’Melia (33) was employed by JCT600 Seat in Bradford she began began taking cash payments from customers and keeping the money.

An investigation began after the dealer group’s accounts teams noticed peculiarities, and it found she had taken £23,704 in cash payments, Bradford Crown Court was told.

She had taken the money to fund a gambling addiction, the court heard this month.

At an earlier hearding in February O’Melia pleaded guilty to theft by an employee, and Bradford Crown Court heard that O’Melia, who had no legal representation, had no previous relevant convictions.

Recorder Catherine Silverton, sitting at Bradford Crown Court, sentenced O’Melia to 10 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, plus 25 rehabilitation activity days.

Bradford’s Telegraph and Argus reports that in what  the judge described as ‘a token gesture’, the offender was ordered to pay £600 in compensation to the dealership.

Recorder Silverton said O’Melia had told customers that the cash machine was broken and taken the money handed over to pay final balances for vehicles.

She said some of the clients were vulnerable because their cars were part of a mobility scheme.

While the offending was planned and committed in breach of trust, O’Melia had admitted her guilt at the magistrates’ court and she had no relevant previous convictions, and mitigating factors were that she had issues with alcohol and gambling and was assessed by her probation officer as being at a low risk of reoffending, Recorder Silverton said.

Tim Rose

As editor, Tim is responsible for the media content, planning and production of AM’s multiple channels (AM print and digital magazines, website, social media and contributing to our events planning). He interviews and writes about as many franchised dealer groups and UK divisions of motor manufacturers as possible, to explore the issues facing UK motor retail and understand what solutions dealers and suppliers are using to overcome these. 

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