A THIEF stole more than £100,000 from the estate agents where she worked – while she was subject to a suspended sentence for stealing from a previous employer.
And Rachel Cefai even had the nerve to claim sick leave from her new bosses to cover the time she was actually carrying out unpaid work as part of her suspended sentence.
But her deception came crashing down at Warwick Crown Court when the 37-year-old, of Mill Crescent, Southam, was jailed for two-and-a-half years.
She had pleaded guilty to theft, two charges of fraud and being in breach of the suspended sentence.
Prosecutor Marion Smullen said Cefai began working for Dunsmore Estates, an estate agent and letting agent based in Rugby, in 2010.
She was promoted fairly rapidly, and gained a position of considerable responsibility – but in 2016 it came to light that there had been misuse of the company’s credit card.
It later emerged that, in addition, large sums of money paid by tenants had been paid into Cefai’s own account.
Miss Smullen said Cefai obtained £105,582 by diverting money into her own account, and £2,763 by using the card.
Although she used the credit card for her own purposes, Cefai put in receipts which seemed to show its use had been for company purchases.
And when one of her bosses bought a pub, she took the key, let herself in and stole furniture worth £900.
When she was challenged about the missing money, Cefai made full admissions – and has since repaid all of it.
The court heard that in June 2015 Cefai had been given an eight-month suspended sentence, with unpaid work, for stealing from a former employer.
Delroy Henry, defending, urged the judge to pass another suspended sentence, adding Cefai had ‘put her money where her mouth is’ and sold her own home to repay the money, and had now become a mother, which had had ‘a significant impact on her.’
But jailing Cefai, Judge Peter Cooke told her: “You are a 37-year-old woman whose dishonesty seems to know no bounds.
“You were told when the suspended sentence was imposed that if there was further offending, immediate custody would follow – but you went straight back to work and carried on stealing.”