A finance manager gained £17,000 fraudulently from her employer by faking cancer

A finance manager gained £17,000 fraudulently from her employer by faking cancer

Not only did Teresa Clay lie about having terminal cancer to take time off, but she also transferred money from her colleagues’ accounts into hers. Clay, who worked for Farsight Recruitment, stole £1,000 after only three days in her new role. She also abused her position throughout her time at work, making nine transactions worth £17,345.


Derby Crown Court stated that Teresa Clay had already been sentenced for theft twice in the past in 2012 and 2015. However, her fraudulent behaviour at Farsight Recruitment only came to light during her time off work for her fake diagnosis.


Tony Stanford who prosecuted the finance manager said he was “utterly dishonest from the outset. It is an offence solely motivated by greed”. Clay has been jailed for 20 months after pleading guilty.


Chief Executive Office of Farsight Recruitment, Tom Dean, stated: “Fortunately, we unearthed the theft relatively quickly and reported the fraud to the police before any serious damage could be done. Sadly, we wasted a lot of time and money on the investigation and the aftermath of having to put the accounts back in order.”


After hearing of Clay’s sentence, Dean stated “Teresa’s actions during her time with us were terrible. Even now the lies and deceit are difficult to fathom.”


Pre-employment screening

This case shows the importance of pre-employment screening. It is not actually known whether Farsight Recruitment had any knowledge of Clay’s past. Had they known about it before taking her one, they would have been able to make a far better decision. Employers are being told to give former ex-offenders a chance; however, as you can see from this case, it can be complicated.


The primary and obvious benefit of pre-employment screening is that a higher quality of candidates leads to better employees. Taking the time to conduct checks on candidates will increase the chances of hiring desirable employees which in turn minimises staff turnover and ramps up productivity; overall improving the businesses bottom line.


Another benefit is the reduction in non-violent employee misconduct in the workplace. Non-violent employee misconduct can include fraud, drug possession, theft of a company or customer assets, identity theft, or other confidential information abuses. Any of these can result in financial impact for the business, loss in customers, decreased employee morale and damages to the company’s’ brand.


Managing sickness

The fact that Farsight Recruitment had no idea that Clay was lying about her terminal cancer highlights the importance of the need to manage staff sickness. It would pay off substantially for businesses to clamp down on HR protocol and stress the importance of staff following strict procedures. Individuals get sick. It is one of the inevitable curses of being human. By adhering to guidelines as a company, genuine cases are handled efficiently, and the employer protects themselves from legal issues surrounding managing sickness.


Employers are allowed to challenge an employee absence and ask for evidence if appropriate. If employers don’t manage sickness effectively, it can be very costly to find, train, and pay for temporary cover. Other staff members are also impacted as their motivation and morale will decrease. Fewer workers also equates to lower productivity and an increase in strain on the remaining employees.


If you need advice or guidance on pre-employment screening or managing sickness, please contact a member of the HPC team:


T: 0844 800 5932


Twitter: @HPC_HRservices

Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest news and updates

Sign up now