Sin Bin: Post Office boss jailed after £100,000 embezzlement

SinBinA Post Office manager from Perth has been jailed for more than three years after admitting she embezzled more than £100,000 from the business.

Sub-post office boss Carol Oswald, 53, spent the money she stole from her work, a charity and an elderly friend on internet betting.

Oswald, who had worked at Letham Post Office since the 1980s, claimed she was trying to win money to pay the business back.

Her activity lasted for almost five years before she was caught.

She also stole more than £8,000 from the post office’s elderly owner and embezzled about £2,300 from a local charity.

Perth Sheriff Court heard that as well as stealing directly from 81-year-old Jean Johnson, Oswald also left the pensioner liable for the £100,000 she had embezzled from the branch.

Oswald admitted embezzling £100,000 from Letham Post Office while she was in a position of trust as manager between 1 January 2008 and 6 December 2012.

She further admitted embezzling £2,367.36 from the Letham Climate Challenge charity while she was in a position of trust as a trustee of the charity.

Oswald took a total of £8,059.80 belonging to Mrs Johnson at her own address and a house in Harley Place, Perth, between 7 October 2010 and 3 December 2012.

The court was told Mrs Johnson had owned the sub-post office and had trusted her friend and colleague Oswald to take over when she became too frail to run the business.

However, Oswald helped herself to thousands of pounds from Mrs Johnson’s personal bank account.

Solicitor Cliff Culley defending said Qswald “wasn’t capable of looking after the Post Office and it ran into financial difficulties”.

“She had difficulties dealing with that and unfortunately gambled money in the hope that the winnings would resolve the financial difficulties.”

He added: “The money was taken from the Post Office account and put into her account and she gambled it. She just felt totally out of control.

“It wasn’t a sophisticated, pre-planned fraud. She was out of her depth.

“She wasn’t funding an extravagant lifestyle. She didn’t have holidays. She lived in fear of being found out and it was inevitable she would be found out.”

Jailing Oswald for three years and four months, Sheriff Lindsay Foulis said: “Your actions placed the old lady under a cloud of suspicion. All these charges - which covered five years - displayed a very significant and clear breach of trust.

“They resulted in very significant sums being misappropriated by yourself. The problem with people who embezzle is that they don’t think of anyone but themselves.”