Lynne Pleaden put a care home out of business when she defrauded it of more than £45,000
Lynne Pleaden's employers in 2014 only realised what she had done after she was arrested by police for a different fraud offence.
The 50-year-old was previously found to have used money from companies she worked for to pay for jewellery, clothes and holidays in Barbados.
Her long list of offending began in 1999 when she was jailed for 15 months for a charge of theft by employee.
She was jailed two more times, in 2003 and 2008, for making false representations to make a financial gain, which were among 10 convictions on her record.
She had also defrauded Flowerland Garden Centre, in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, and Silverson Machines Ltd, in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, out of thousands of pounds when she worked for them.
Before she began work at Lloyd Scott Healthcare, in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, in January 2014 she handed in a CV to the owner Simon Scott complete with references and claimed she was a chartered accountant.
The company provided residential care services for elderly people.
Pleaden's long list of offending began in 1999 when she was jailed for 15 months for theft
Judge Francis Sheridan, sitting at Aylesbury Crown Court, heard that Pleaden was eager to please and "hard working" at the job, even coming in a fifth day a week when she was only contracted to work four.
Mr Scott eventually saw an article in the local newspaper about her in connection with fraud but she denied it and claimed she was the victim of identity theft.
The company continued to trust the convicted fraudster but in October 2014 Metropolitan Police officers arrived to arrest her for yet another fraud offence.
After the company replaced her with another finance manager, they discovered huge anomalies in the accounts and HMRC started to chase payments of tax.
The company discovered Pleaden had paid £45,640, which was due to go to HMRC, into her own bank account and later found her claim of being a chartered accountant on her CV was a lie.
Lloyd Scott Healthcare, which had been in business for 18 years, could not find the tax funds and went bust, the court heard.
Pleaden, of Ashton Road, Luton, Bedfordshire, admitted one count of fraud by false representation and one count of fraud by abuse of position.
In mitigation Neil Jarvis said she had done much good since being released from prison for previous offences.
Pleaden had paid £45,640, which was due to go to HMRC, into her own bank account
The defence barrister said: "She was a fraudster. She was remanded in custody from the date of arrest until her production here.
"She is now on a committee where she visits Bronzefield Prison twice a week where she helps rehabilitation.
"She has provided information to Channel 4 and the BBC about people affected by prison. Everything ticks the boxes for somebody who has completely rehabiilitated themselves.
"She has accepted her guilt. What I'm really asking is to allow the chance to continue work she is doing, not only for herself, but for other people. She's moved on completely."
In his sentencing remarks, Judge Sheridan said: "The summary of how she treats other people's money is well demonstrated by her criminal offending.
"The fact is she misled the losers in this case into believing she was qualified and trustworthy as their book keeper.
"The business had been running for 18 years, showing it was a business that could run and operate within the law. It provided care to the elderly, everything had been working well.
"One of this lady's duties was to pay HMRC the sums that were due. What she didn't reveal was her long history of fraud and theft from employers.
Judge Sheridan jailed Lynne Pleaden for two years
"She apparently worked hard and she was eager. She came in a fifth day a day she didn't have to – we now know that was essential we now know so she could keep other people away from the books.
"She was challenged by her employer when her name came up in the local Press for a case of fraud but she denied it and said she was a victim of identity theft.
"They discovered what had gone on, and revenue hadn't been paid. Most of all she defrauded them about her honesty.
"What she had done was divert HMRC payments to herself, a huge loss for a small company. The implications were devastating – the company went bust and other people lost their jobs due to the greed of this woman.
"Since release she has applied herself in a meaningful way. The fact of the matter is that since her release she has supported others with rehabilitation, she of course has huge experience with that, having been 'rehabilitated' many times.
"There is no money to compensate the losing company and whether others who lost their jobs have found new ones I don't know."
The judge jailed Pleaden for two years.