A woman who stole nearly half-a-million pounds from her employer over a 20-year period has been jailed.
Emma Green, of Strone Hill Court in Dundonald, defrauded Bangor-based Munster Sims Engineering out of £494,326.14.
Imposing a three-year sentence, Judge Geoffrey Miller QC said the defendant was "deliberately deceitful over an astonishingly long period".
The Downpatrick Crown Court judge told Green she would spend a year in prison, followed by two years on licence.
He also spoke of the impact her offending had on Munster Sims, which also trades as Whale Pumps, noting none of the stolen money had been repaid.
The mother-of-two pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud by false representation between January 2000 and June 2019.
The 44-year-old started with the engineering firm in July 1999 as a purchase ledger clerk. Her criminal behaviour began to emerge around January 2019.
A police investigation was launched after her supervisor noticed a financial discrepancy linked to a supplier the company had not used since 2012.
This prompted a further check of records, which revealed Green had lodged money from the supplier into her own account.
When her supervisor confronted her she broke down and admitted she had taken money.
After she was suspended initial investigations suggested she had taken around £127,638.91 via 180 fraudulent transactions between May 2013 and June 2019.
A more detailed probe showed she had made a further 303 lodgements, amounting to a total loss of £494,326.14.
After she was arrested and interviewed in September 2019 Green appeared shocked when confronted with the total amount involved.
She told police she first took money in 2000, using it to pay off credit card debts.
She explained that when making an invoice she would change the details so the money went into her bank account.
She also sent the suppliers genuine invoices so no questions would be asked.
Judge Miller said despite regular audits nothing was noticed, so Green kept offending.
He noted that, during interview, Green said she had been living a lie, that she wished she had been caught sooner, and she had told the police "it was all too easy".
At the conclusion of the interview Green said she missed work and she wanted her former colleagues to know she was sorry.
Judge Miller spoke of the impact her offending had on a company that prides itself on integrity and offering secure and rewarding employment.
He said: "There can be no doubt that her methodology was carefully worked out and was indicative of careful planning and premeditation."
As he passed sentence, Judge Miller said he was taking into account her alcohol dependency issues, her clear criminal record and the effect the sentence will have on her children.