Brewery employee jailed over £500,000 seven-year money laundering con

A brewery employee has been locked up for money laundering after transferring nearly £ 500k over seven years.

Lesley Freestone, 64, worked in the accounting department of the 160-year-old St Austell Brewery, famous for its real ales such as Tribute and Proper Job.

She abused her position to withdraw £ 444,329.16 from the company’s accounts between May 3, 2007 and May 15, 2016.

She was incarcerated for five years in December when she pleaded guilty to Truro Crown Court in Cornwall, but the imposed reporting restrictions have now been lifted.

They were in place when Freestone from Par, Cornwall was charged together with a second defendant – Jodie Tucker, also from Par.

Tucker was charged with possession of stolen funds from St Austell Brewery between May 3, 2007 and May 15, 2014, with a combined value of £ 138.06.48.

The 42-year-old had pleaded innocent and yesterday at the Truro Crown Court, the prosecution officially pronounced an innocent verdict on this charge.

A St Austell Brewery spokesperson said, “In October 2016, St Austell Brewery became aware of past financial irregularities – over an extended period of time – and immediately reported the matter to the Devon and Cornwall police.

One of our former employees, Lesley Freestone, appeared in court pleading guilty of embezzling funds from a company account.

“Although we were unable to recover the stolen assets, we are satisfied with the five-year sentence and relieved that the lengthy legal process has now been completed.”