Woman jailed for embezzling £1.3m

Ahmad Yazdanparast has been found guilty of murdering his wife after a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh

Ahmad Yazdanparast has been found guilty of murdering his wife after a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh

An oil company executive stole more than £1.3 million from her employers because she was “unhappy” at having to be her family’s main breadwinner, a court heard.

Jacqueline McPhie,46, pocketed £1,376,935 whilst working as the vice-president for finance at Altus in Aberdeen.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how she felt her £146,848 per year wage was not enough to provide her family with a comfortable lifestyle.

McPhie – who was convicted of stealing £250,000 from a previous job 16 years ago – concocted a complicated financial scam. She spent £80,000 buying a Range Rover Sport car, £60,000 to £70,000 on a new garage and driveway and £30,000 on a “bespoke” summer house in her garden. She splashed out £52,000 on a new kitchen for her home. McPhie spent the rest of the money on up-market foreign holidays and designer clothes.

McPhie, currently living with her parents in a caravan in Arbroath, is embroiled in a bitter divorce battle.

Defence advocate Tony Lenehan told judge Lady Wise his client was “very unhappy” at the time.

Speaking as his client sat in the dock weeping, Mr Lenehan added: “She was in a very unhappy relationship. She feels that she was placed under pressure to provide wealth for her family unit.

“She found that she secured happiness in her relationship by providing material wealth. She was the main source of income. Her husband’s company did not make much money. She also felt that she was undervalued by her company.

“Her decision-making abilities were not at the strongest at this time. She then decided to undertake the scheme which has placed her in the court today.”

However, Lady Wise jailed McPhie, who previously lived in Aberdeen, for three years and four months.

She said: “You are 46 years old and had what many people would regard as an enviable existence.

“You enjoyed a salary of almost £150,000 per annum, you were married with a child, your husband also had work.

“Your motivation can only have been greed, to have even more material wealth than your position allowed you to accrue.”

McPhie pleaded guilty to a charge of embezzlement in May. Sentence had been deferred for reports.

The court heard McPhie’s husband had nothing to do with his wife embezzlement.

Detectives discovered she had faked invoices and had also faked e-mails from senior Altus Intervention staff which authorised payments to McPhie.

Scotland’s second most senior prosecutor, the Solicitor General Alison Di Rollo, had told the court McPhie had one previous conviction for embezzlement.

She was given community service and probation in October 2000 after pleading guilty at Paisley Sheriff Court.

She took a quarter of a million pounds whilst working as a finance manager with Inchinnan-based Inventec over a seven day period in 1999.

McPhie was also charged with embezzling £20,000 in April 1997 whilst employed as finance manager with Greenock based Chicony Electronics. However, she pleaded not guilty and prosecutors dropped the allegation.