• STV
  • MySTV

Aberdeen finance director embezzled company cash to buy horse box

Petronella MacDougall plundered company accounts for two years before her colleagues noticed.

Aberdeen Sheriff: Abusive phone call pensioner fined

A finance director embezzled more than £77,000 from her work so she could buy luxury goods including a horse box.

Petronella MacDougall, 59, siphoned off tens of thousands of pounds from a business account while working as head of accounts at an Aberdeen-based production company.

She was caught when a fellow director at A-Line Audio Visual found an email asking for a deposit for a horse box. That led to the discovery of a secret credit card which MacDougall used to take money out of the company’s accounts.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told that as one of three directors at the company, MacDougall had a debit card and was authorised to co-sign business cheques.

Her colleagues, Andrew Dunn and Richard Trilk, checked the company’s accounts after suppliers complained of missed payments.

Procurator fiscal depute Elaine Ward said: “On February 7, 2013, one of the other directors received a telephone call from a company supplier seeking payment for an outstanding account that amounted to £1300.

"As a result of this witness Dunn looked at the cheque book and noticed one of the cheque stubs had been as payment of 500 pounds to the company. He quizzed this with the supplier but there were adamant they had not received payment."

The two men found several payments to businesses who had no connection to A-Line, as well as regular monthly payments of £300 to a Mastercard which neither director knew about.

Mr Dunn also noticed a payment of £2500 made out to R and S Sinclair, which corresponded to an email to MacDougall from a Sharon Sinclair asking for a deposit for a horse box.

When company accountants were called in to carry out a forensic audit of the business they discovered a staggering £77.162.24 had been embezzled over two years without anyone noticing.

MacDougall was cautioned and detained by police on February 26 last year, and admitted the crime in a police interview.

At court on Friday she admitted the charge of embezzling the full amount between January 1, 2011 and February 26, 2013.

Defence agent Stuart Beveridge said her family and friends were completely unaware of the crime.

Sheriff Graham Buchanan deferred sentence for reports yesterday and granted MacDougall bail.

He said: "Obviously this is a serious matter due to the amount of money involved."

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.