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Gore-Strachan managed to get a pay rise to 132,000-a-year from the second firm she worked for after convincing them she was doing a good job for them - when in reality they later had to make workers redundant because they had been left significantly out of pocket by her offending.

The Zimbabwean national, who owns a five bedroomed house, was sent back to prison and barred from being a company director for the next 15 years by a judge who described her actions as being "about as bad a case as there could be."

Gore-Strachan used a total of 35 accounts to hide her ill-gotten gains, setting up bogus accounts for firms with similar-sounding names to those that she worked for in a bid to avoid detection.

Other accounts were created for completely fictitious companies, many of which had her as the sole director, a court heard.

On one occasion when suspicious colleagues phoned a number on an invoice to query it, Gore-Strachan answered the phone but disguised her voice.

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Prosecutor Michael Roques told Reading crown court that between 2008 and 2012, the 42-year-old managed to steal a total of 809,776 from Webtech Wireless, a Vancouver-based software firm that had an office in Reading, Berks.

She earned an annual salary of 44,000 in this post, which included bookkeeping and filing the company's tax and employee PAYE returns.

In spring 2012 the firm announced it was to close its Reading office and Gore-Strachan would be among the employees to be made redundant.

It wasn't until the following year that the company discovered a number of problems with legitimate commission payments to another firm, Globetec, which had been authorised by Gore-Strachan.

"It became apparent the commission payments meant to be paid to Globetec had been paid into a UK Abbey National bank account," Mr Roques told the court.