A pharmacist who fleeced her boss out of £10,000 after flogging diabetic test strips on her husband’s eBay account has walked free from court. ‘Dishonest’ Rita Kauldhar was ‘caught red-handed’ after secretly ordering extra products from the Black Country pharmacy where she worked and selling them online.
But the 38-year-old’s sly scheme was only uncovered after her suspicious boss launched an ‘insidious’ investigation to uncover her nine-month crime spree. He has since been forced to take out a loan just to keep the Tipton pharmacy afloat, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.
Kauldhar – who had worked at Swanpool Medical Centre since 2019 – was responsible for prescriptions and orders, and also had keys to the premises. Her boss Mr Ali began noticing orders had been placed for diabetic test strips which he had not authorised around September 2019.
He decided to call the seller, who revealed orders had come direct from his pharmacy. Mr Ali soon realised Kauldhar was working ‘every time’ orders were placed and that some orders had been deleted from the internal system.
He decided to search on eBay for sellers of the strips and managed to link one account with Kauldhar’s husband, prosecutor Thomas Griffiths told the court on Wednesday. The pharmacy boss then got a family member to make a ‘test purchase’.
Mr Griffiths said: “The batch number of the box received from the seller matched the batch number on the pharmacy’s invoice.” The court heard how Mr Ali then watched Kauldhar on CCTV as she picked up a delivery and took the box to her car.
Police were called, with officers discovering the box contained the same diabetic test strips ordered from the pharmacy. Kauldhar – of Lindens Drive, Streetly – admitted her offending but said she only sold sealed and unused items from the pharmacy which had been returned by patients.
But Mr Griffiths said the Crown rejected her claims. Deliveries were arranged for early morning, before other staff arrived, so they could not be ‘intercepted’.
No orders were placed when Kauldhar was on annual leave, he added. In a statement read to the court, Mr Ali said staff at the pharmacy – in St Mark’s Road – had been left feeling ‘betrayed’.
He said: “My staff were devastated. Some were crying and felt betrayed. They felt they had been groomed. The emotional impact was far worse than the money one.”
Sentencing, Recorder Anthony Warner said Mr Ali’s business had been ‘enormously affected’ by Kauldhar’s offending. He said: “I have to sentence you for stealing from Mr Ali’s pharmacy from which you worked since 2019 until this was eventually uncovered as a result, in part, of extremely insidious investigation by Mr Ali himself, leading to you being seen on CCTV taking a box of something he had never ordered and did not want, from the delivery to your car.
“It has led to great distress to him and other staff. It has meant that he has had to take on a loan in order to put it right. I have read that you say that you are, and I hope that you are, thoroughly ashamed for this disgraceful, dishonest conduct.”
Kauldhar, who had no previous convictions, admitted theft by employee between August 1, 2019 and May 29, 2020. She was handed a two-year sentence, suspended for two years, along with a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement and 90-hours unpaid work.
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