PA spared jail over theft to fund friend's breast job

A City personal assistant who stole thousands of pounds from her employers to pay for a friend's breast enhancement operation has been spared jail.

Emily McMillan used corporate credit cards belonging to senior executives at global financial firm JP Morgan to fund the 3,500 procedure.

McMillan, 28, of Sudbury, Suffolk, also took money to pay for a girls' holiday in Ibiza and to make a repayment on her brother's mortgage.

The Old Bailey heard that she began stealing after she fell into debt through taking drugs supplied by a colleague at JP Morgan – where they were said to be "readily available".

McMillan had access to corporate credit cards to make travel and other arrangements on behalf of senior staff.

She was caught following a routine audit and later admitted four counts of fraud and one of theft, totalling 10,633.88, all committed between March and May.

Judge Brian Barker, the Common Serjeant of London, said the "breach of trust" would normally result in jail but he would make a "rare" exception.

The court heard McMillan, who wiped away tears during the hearing, had no previous convictions, was now drug free, and was undertaking voluntary work to help others with drug problems.

She was ordered to undergo a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement and put on supervision for 18 months.

McMillan was also told she must carry out 100 hours of unpaid community work and repay an outstanding 4,634.88 owed to JP Morgan.

Charles Evans, prosecuting, said the fraud began when she paid 3,000 towards the mortgage on her brother's house where she was staying – effectively her rent.

There were then two further payments on different cards towards a "cosmetic procedure" for a female friend. The court heard that these were made to pay off a debt to the friend.

McMillan was arrested in the summer after returning from the 758.67 holiday she had taken with another female friend – paid for fraudulently.

The court heard that she had also stolen 875.21 petty cash in foreign currency from JP Morgan. She had worked for the company since 2007.

Cathy McCulloch, defending, said: "Because of a contact she made at JP Morgan, drugs were readily available to her through her place of work," she added. "Somebody in the organisation was supplying her with those drugs. She became indebted to them."

The judge said she had made a "real effort" to address her problems.