Accounts assistant stole more than £21K from Wakefield firm

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An accounts assistant who stole more than £21,000 from a Wakefield company has escaped an immediate jail sentence.

A Leeds Crown Court judge showed mercy to Adebayo Olaleru after hearing the cash was spent on medical treatment for his sick mother, who later died.

Olaleru, 46, of Derwent Road, Wakefield, stole a total of £21,452 between October 2014 and January this year, while working as an accounts assistant for the Conservatory Outlet in Thornes, Wakefield.

Prosecutor, James Weekes said Olaleru, who was earning a £20,000 salary, made 16 transfers from the company’s account into two of his own bank accounts.

He tried to disguise the theft by labelling the transactions with false descriptions, including payments to suppliers.

The theft was discovered in February when a former member of the accounts team, who had recently retired, came back to work part-time and discovered anomalies in the accounts.

Olaleru was one of 24 employees made redundant from the Conservatory Outlet in March, two months before he was interviewed by police.

Mitigating, Michael Devlin said father-of-two Olaleru, who came to the UK from Nigeria in 2002, had used the stolen cash to pay medical bills for his mother who was at the time seriously ill in Nigeria and later died.

Mr Devlin said: “He is deeply ashamed and regrets his actions.”

Handing Olaleru a 16-month jail sentence, suspended for 12 months, Recorder Kate Tulk told him: “I accept this offending was motivated entirely in order to provide medical treatment for your mother. That is the one reason I suspend the sentence I impose today.”

Olaleru admitted theft and was told he must complete 180 hours of unpaid work.