Beloved author J.K. Rowling may be best known for her books about wizards, but it seems like her former assistant had mastered some magical powers of her own — namely, the ability to “accio” her boss’s money into her own pocket without being detected.
According to various news sources, the Harry Potter creator is now suing Amanda Donaldson for £23,696.32 (or around $30,282.83 U.S., at the time of this writing). Donaldson, who worked for Rowling from 2014 to 2017, is accused of making unauthorized personal transactions using Rowling’s company card. While 57% of organizations view employee retention as a problem, Rowling evidently had no problem giving Donaldson the ax for employee misconduct she found out what her assistant had been up to.
And evidently, that was a lot. Rowling’s accountants report that Donaldson’s documented purchasing statements — which she was required to submit once per month — started showing discrepancies in February 2017. The company credit card Donaldson was given showed thousands of dollars in charges for cosmetics (over $4,000 worth), baked goods, luxury candles and perfume, meals, Starbucks runs (a whopping $2,000), and even pet cats. Whether Donaldson was merely trying to find her familiar remains to be seen.
Donaldson also had access to a safe that contained foreign funds. She stands accused of removing over $13,000 in cash from that safe and for stealing expensive Harry Potter memorabilia worth thousands of dollars. According to a 2017 study, women commit 51% of embezzlement crimes, so what Rowling’s assistant did isn’t necessarily uncommon. But Donaldson allegedly took her thieving to a whole new level when she abused her duties, opting to take valuable toys for herself instead of sending them to fans.
Thus far, Donaldson has denied the claims against her. She has also suggested in court that Rowling has “not suffered any loss and is not entitled to damages.” She may have a point, considering that Rowling’s net worth is $650 million. Still, that’s not to say that the best-selling author deserved to get scammed by a trusted employee.
According to a spokesperson for the local court, the case will be heard on December 6. This story is ongoing — much like the world’s love for all things Harry Potter.