THE BOSS of a Fife dental practice discovered large-scale financial discrepancies when he returned to work after serious illness, a court has been told.
Former practice manager Lynn Macdonald is standing trial for embezzlement of funds from Kelty Dental Practice.
The court heard allegations that she started shaking and turned pale when quizzed about the finances of the business.
Macdonald, 40, of Keltyhill Road, Kelty, denies that between April 1 2009 and October 1 2010 while employed at Kelty Dental Practice, Main Street, and in a position of trust she embezzled £12,557.25.
Paul Eynon, 53, who operated the Kelty practice at the time, gave evidence at yesterday’s trial at Dunfermline Sheriff Court.
He said the accused had been an employee for 15 years, initially as the receptionist and latterly as practice manager.
“In the early days I found I could trust her,” Mr Eyon told depute fiscal Sam Johnston.
Macdonald took on extra responsibilities when, in December 2009, Mr Eynon had to go off sick and was being tested for “three different types of cancer”, he told the court.
“I had to take time off and that was when we started to notice changes in the pattern of money being cashed in and discrepancies in the payroll.”
Mr Eynon said the accused’s job included collating hours worked and sending that information to the practice’s accountants.
He explained that, during the period he was ill, he would go into the practice two or three times a month and would sign blank cheques.
These were then to be completed and used by Macdonald for paying wages and the running costs of the practice.
“Wasn’t that a risky practice, signing blank cheques?” asked Mr Johnston.
“She was somebody who up to that point I’d been trusting,” replied Mr Eynon.
Concerns were raised by his accountant so Macdonald was asked to a disciplinary hearing at the practice to explain the discrepancies.
Mr Eynon said the accused apologised and afterward “wrote us a letter saying she was sorry for taking the money”.
He added: “She said she was going to pay it back when she got her life sorted.”
Macdonald also told him that £2,500 out of the £12,500 missing was money that was owed to her.
Mr Eynon said that in the letter, the accused wrote: “My head’s been scattered and I’ve been very scared for the last eight months.
“At that point I felt she was prepared to show remorse and make recompense,” said Mr Eynon but he added that since then he had received nothing from the accused.
He estimated that, as well the amount lost to his business, there was also up to £6,000 in fees he has had to pay to lawyers and accountants in relation to the matter.
Due to time constraints, the trial before Sheriff Charles Macnair was adjourned until March 3.
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