A man from Hatfield who stole £26,000 from employer YO! Sushi to fund IVF treatment has been given a community order.

Charandeep Ghuman, of Swanland Road, was hit with a 12 month-community order and 100 hours of unpaid work at St Albans Crown Court on Friday, September 29.

The court heard that on November 8, 2020, Ghuman, who was employed by YO! as a junior finance worker, amended the payment details of a PayPal transaction to transfer £26,700 into his personal bank account, before switching it back to the original position.

The loss was not noticed by the retailer for the best part of a year, but an internal investigation revealed the missing money had been paid into his own account.

Ralph Pickering, defending, revealed that Ghuman's wife had just been ruled as ineligible for free IVF treatment through the NHS, and described his decision to steal the money as an "isolated offence", but "one of the worst decisions of his life".

"It was an isolated offence during a very difficult period of his life, when he was working remotely and felt very isolated," he said.

"His wife had just been ruled ineligible for IVF through the NHS, and their only option was to go private.

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"He put a lot of pressure on himself, which when combined with the unprecedented decision by his company to grant all financial services employees – even those of a junior status -  the ability to make financial transactions at home, proved the perfect storm for him to make one of the worst decisions of his life."

Mr Pickering added that not only did the offence cost Ghuman his job and career, but his wife miscarried the only viable embryo from the IVF treatment due to stress following his arrest.

Recorder Ed Butler showed sympathy for Ghuman, but that his action had to be punished.

"You would be surprised how many people from all walks of life have struggled with fertility," he said.

"It is one of the great unspoken secrets of life and the court understands pain and heartache that goes alongside it.

"There are those who may think that with an offence of this nature involving a breach of trust you’re getting off lightly – you are not.

"Because of this dishonesty there are now doors which are no longer open to you and you have lost the opportunity for a lucrative career."