A CONVICTED fraudster jailed for a major scam was back in court for swindling her new employers out of thousands of pounds.

Michelle Ricketts, 41, from Ebbw Vale, fleeced Gwent recycling company Mekatek, even after her bosses were tipped off about her shady past.

The crooked mother-of-one was given “a second chance” by the firm despite being told she was imprisoned for a £100,000 con a decade ago.

Prosecutor Ieuan Bennett said Ricketts had been hired as a human resources and finance co-ordinator by Mekatek in 2019.


The Rhymney firm later became aware she lied to them during her interview and had hidden her criminal past from her employers.

Despite this bombshell, Makatek decided against firing her.

Mr Bennett said: “When her previous criminal convictions came to light, her employers gave her something of a second chance and she continued working for them.”

Soon up to her old tricks again, she repaid their faith by stealing more than £5,000 over a four-month period between January and April 2020.

She would create false invoices and pay company money into her own bank account.

Ricketts, of Five Houses, Beaufort, Ebbw Vale, pleaded guilty to theft.

Mr Bennett told Cardiff Crown Court she was caught out after being furloughed because of coronavirus.

A colleague who took over her duties soon spotted what she had been up to.

Mr Bennett said: “The company was going through a difficult trading period at the time.

“The defendant wrote a letter via email to her colleague to apologise.

“She said she was sorry about what had happened and was facing financial problems herself, and stole to keep a roof over her head.

“She offered to pay the money back.”

The court heard Ricketts has repaid £1,900 to date.

She was jailed for 22 months in 2011 for fraud and theft, and had a conviction for obtaining money by deception in 2001.

Her prison sentence 10 years ago was for stealing £100,000 from a Monmouthshire company.

Nik Strobl, mitigating, said if the court were to send her to jail it would have a “dramatic” effect on her young daughter.

Her barrister revealed the defendant had “issues with her drinking and depression”.

He added: “The prospect of prison has terrified her.”

Mr Strobl asked for her early guilty plea to be taken into account.

The judge, Recorder IWL Jones, told Ricketts: “This is a serious offence of theft. What is astonishing is that you committed this offence given what happened to you in 2001 and 2011.

“Your employers trusted you and they even gave you a chance after finding out about your past.

“They trusted you and you breached that trust.”

He jailed her for 10 months but suspended the sentence for two years.

The judge added: “I am doing this because of your daughter and because you have shown you are paying the money back.”

Ricketts will have to complete a 15-day rehabilitation activity requirement and observe an electronically tagged curfew for three months between 8pm and 7am.

She will also have to pay a victim surcharge.