A TRAINEE accountant from Helensburgh has been jailed for stealing more than £38,000 from her employers, writes Ashlie McAnally.

Crooked Kirstie Donovan ripped off her firm after landing a plum role with the Glasgow company – despite having a previous conviction for a similar offence. 

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard that Donovan, 35, made a number of payments totalling £38,055 from Fidelite Credit Management to her own account.

Bosses were tipped off by an anonymous phone call that she had been jailed for pocketing cash from another company in a different name.

When questioned, Donovan – who, the court was told, had a “well off” social circle – admitted her past, but denied stealing in her current role.

But an investigation found £38,055 had been embezzled by Donovan, with payments made on seven different occasions in April and May 2015.

Donovan pleaded guilty to carrying out the offence between December 2014 and May 2014 at the Blythswood Street firm and was jailed for 18 months.

She was also charged with fraudulently obtaining employment at Fidelite by fraud by pretending she was a fully qualified accountant, was registered with a professional organisation and did not have a previous conviction for dishonesty.

But her plea of not guilty to that charge was accepted by prosecutors.

Passing sentence, Sheriff Alan MacKenzie said: “I consider the only disposal that’s appropriate is imprisonment.”

The court heard Donovan’s previous conviction dated from 2009, when she was jailed under the name Kirsty Male for pocketing £47,984 from Davidson and Workman.

She wrote cheques to herself as a trainee accountant and used the cash to fund a holiday to New York and bills.

Procurator fiscal depute Deborah Carroll said Donovan had been a trainee accountant working towards a qualification from the Institute of Chartered Accountants Scotland.

Miss Carroll said: “She failed to complete her training due to failing professional exams.”

She added that Donovan was given a “further opportunity” but was sacked in 2008 for gross misconduct.

Donovan then successfully applied for a finance manager post in November 2014 with Fidelite Credit Management.

The job was advertised at a salary of between £38,000 and £42,000, with benefits, and she landed the role.

It was heard the firm carried out vetting on Donovan.

In May 2015 an anonymous call was made to the company, naming Donovan as a fraudster and giving details of her earlier crime.

A search lead to information about her conviction and court case and she was probed by bosses.

Miss Carroll said: “During the course of the interview she admitted she was sentenced to a period of imprisonment and resigned from her employment.

“At the end of the meeting Donovan was asked if she had ever stolen from the company and denied having done so.”

But it later emerged she had taken more than £38,000 over seven separate payments in April and May 2015.

The matter was reported to the police and in May of this year, she gave a no-comment interview.

Defence lawyer David Mitchell said Donovan’s relationship had broken down at the time of the offence.

He said: “She got involved in a social group of friends who were well off.”

Mr Mitchell said she “regrets the offence” and “is a well educated lady who comes from a respectable family background”.