The general manager of the Ramada Birmingham Mailbox, Hayley Berry, has been jailed after stealing £311,000 by exploiting a flaw in the hotel’s accounting system.
Barry, 47, who reportedly spent the cash on a “lavish” extension to her home and gym membership, was sentenced to three years and four months in prison after an employee blew the whistle on her.
She had previously admitted fraud when she appeared at Birmingham Crown Court, reported the Birmingham Mail.
Recorder Anthony Warner, sentencing, said: “You used your knowledge of a flaw in the system to take for yourself, over a six-year period, over £300,000. You did that on over 1,100 occasions by completing documentation which was entirely false to create cash refunds.
“You paid into your bank £171,000 and the rest you used for your own purposes. In the course of doing that you used employees inferior to you. You involved other people through pressure because they did not feel they had any option but to do what you asked them to.”
Nicholas Cartwright, the prosecutor, said Barry worked at the hotel in January 2008 until her dismissal last year and was responsible for preparing payslips and depositing cash at the hotel’s bank.
He told the court there was a ‘dummy room system’ at the Ramada which was designed to deal with accounting adjustments, but Barry took advantage of it.
“Barry misused that dummy room system. She put through false cash refunds, typically sums of between £300 and £600. She did to some extent corrupt others. She would get them to manipulate the system.”
He added that Barry had been the only individual to benefit from the fraud, adding her “outgoings were far more substantial than her legitimate salary could have ever met”.
Joseph Keating, the defence, said it was something that “clearly spiralled out of control”, claiming the defendant had discovered something she was able to take advantage of and was “just able to carry on”.