A MUM who embezzled £90,000 from her employer to fund IVF treatment was today spared a jail term – after her lawyer argued imprisoning her would separate her from her test-tube twins.
Debbie Stevenson was a bookkeeper for The Pitreavie Group in Glenrothes – but abused her position to steal £92,181.64 between August 2014 and January 2017.
Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court heard Stevenson – desperate to become a mum – used the cash to pay for costly infertility treatment involving trips to Greece to undergo medical procedures.
She gave birth to twins in 2015 - but continued the fraud for two years.
Today a sheriff spared her a jail term that could have run to five years – instead ordering her to carry out 300 hours unpaid work in the community and stay at home for 12 hours a day on an electronic tag.
Stevenson (7) of Boldon Colliery, Tyne and Wear, pleaded guilty on indictment to embezzling a total of £92,181.64 from the packaging solutions firm.
Her solicitor, Scott McKenzie, told the court: “She started embezzling from the company primarily to fund IVF treatment.”
He said the treatment involved significant costs but her offending continued even after her children, now aged two-and-a-half, were born.
Stevenson’s husband, Michael, was training to be an engineer and Mr McKenzie said: “She did end up under significant financial pressure.”
He said she was ashamed about her behaviour, particularly in relation to the company’s director, and added: “She does realise the company suffered financial losses.
“She appreciates this is not a trivial offence.”
Mr McKenzie said Stevenson - who also has an 18-year-old son – was at a low risk of reoffending and stressed the impact on the family if she was behind bars.
He said: “As far as the twins are concerned, there is no family support in the area.
“Her husband works full time. He would have to give up his work to look after the children.”
Sheriff Jamie Gilchrist QC imposed a community payback order with 300 hours unpaid work.
He also imposed a 12 month restriction of liberty order confining her to her home address from 5pm til 5am every day.
The sheriff said he was imposing the maximum amount of unpaid work and the longest possible electronic tagging order as a direct alternative to jail and that the sentence was discounted from a jail sentence, meaning no reduction to the maximum number of hours or tag imposed.