Appearing at Exeter Crown Court, Kim Bruce confessed to five counts of fraud when she worked as an accountant at a Cornish charity which restores the quality of rivers and as a finance manager for Libraries Unlimited.
When she worked for Westcountry Rivers Trust, Bruce stole £1,908 and £1,663.20 between July 2017 and May 2018. But these two offences were small scale compared to the other three counts of fraud she committed as the finance manager at Libraries Unlimited.
Bruce first pocketed £4,688.69 on 17 January 2019, but then reached deeper into the company’s coffers. On 11 March she embezzled £12,178.53 and then she struck again a few weeks later on 25 March, when she pilfered £26,659.39.
According to Bruce’s Linkedin page, she joined Exeter-based Libraries Unlimited in January 2019, which suggests the fraud started early in her tenure there. Before that, she worked for the Cornwall-based charity The Rivers Trust from June 2017 until November 2018
Exeter Crown Court heard how she altered bank details to make unauthorised payments to herself.
Bruce has been released on bail and is awaiting her sentence.
Advised to put her affairs in order
Judge David Evans adjourned sentence until 9 March, but emphasised that this should not give her “false hope”. All options will be open including immediate custody, so he recommended that she put her affairs in order.
Bruce has since repaid £16,000 of the stolen money and her final salary payments from Rivers Trust of £1,500 and £3,000 from Libraries Unlimited were both withheld.
Bruce graduated from the University of South Africa in 1992 with a bachelor of commerce degree in accounting and finance, which she likenes on her Linkedin to CIMA and ACCA qualifications.
She also describes finance as her “passion” and lists her skills as “preparing budgets, costings and full management accounts”. She also claims to “work great under pressure” and is “good at time management and am deadline driven”.
Before working at Westcountry Rivers Trust and Libraries Unlimited, she held a business finance manager role at a design company from December 2016 until May 2017 and prior to that, she served as the CFO at HBI investment for nearly four years.