Cape Town - A bookkeeper was handed a suspended prison sentence on Wednesday for stealing over R100 000 from a Cape Town law firm.

Annemarie Elizabeth van Zyl appeared in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court, before Magistrate Sabrina

Sonnenberg, and was sentenced to five years in prison, conditionally suspended for five years.

Van Zyl had pleaded guilty in a plea-bargain.

She had stolen R140 493 between October 2008 and December 2010.

Prosecutor Xolile Jonas told the court the firm - De Abreu and Cohen - specialised in conveyancing, and Van Zyl's duties included recording all transactions in a ledger, and managing the banking of cash.

He said staff members Brenda Mumro and Marie-Lou Gillespie were the only personnel authorised to sign cheques on behalf of the firm, while Van Zyl had sole authority to access the firm's cheque books.

He said a filing clerk had been given cheques to deposit at Nedbank and FNB, and among them was a cheque with a forged signature, payable to Van Zyl.

Jonas said the forgery gave rise to a forensic audit, which led to the charge brought against Van Zyl.

Defence attorney Ronald Rieckerts said Van Zyl had indicated from the beginning that she would plead guilty, to avoid a protracted trial.

This was an indication of remorse and justified the suspended prison sentence, he said. - Sapa