Sin Bin: Grant Thornton manager admits embezzling £726,000 of charity trust cash

SinBinAn assistant manager from Motherwell who worked in the trust department of accountancy firm Grant Thornton has admitted embezzling £726,000 from trusts that were set up to help charities.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard yesterday how mother of three, Susan McMahon, 34, exploited her position to falsified documents so her superiors would authorise cheques that she led them to believe had been authorised by trustees.

Sheriff Alan Miller deferred sentence on McMahon until next month and remanded her in custody after she pleaded guilty to embezzling £726,765 between May 2006 and May 2013.

Instead of money going to various beneficiaries including Save the Children, McMahon transferred the stolen money into accounts held by her and her husband.

The court heard McMahon’s husband had no knowledge of his wife’s crimes.

She was caught in April 2013 when one of the partners in Grant Thornton authorised a cheque for £15,000 to be paid to the Sports University Scotland, an Aberdeen charity.

He became suspicious and carried out checks on the Margaret Murdoch Trust, which McMahon claimed had authorised the payment, and discovered no such payment had been approved.

The court was told that out of the 12 to 15 trusts administered by McMahon, six had funds belonging to them fraudulently removed and paid out to her or her husband’s accounts.

The court heard no money has been repaid.

A spokesman for Grant Thornton said: “Grant Thornton, together with its insurers, is in the course of addressing compensation arrangements with the affected trusts in respect of the losses they have been shown to have incurred by reason of Mrs McMahon’s criminal activity.

“Whilst not wishing to be anything other than helpful, you will appreciate that Grant Thornton is constrained by obligations of confidence from disclosing any further details in relation to such arrangements.”

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