J.K. Rowling is suing her former assistant after accusing her of stealing over $30,000 to fund luxury shopping sprees
Before she shot to fame as the author of the world-renowned Harry Potter series, JK Rowling lived in poverty. For a period of time she was jobless, and had to rely on welfare to survive as a single mother. But, of course, that all changed when her stories of the boy wizard found incredible success - and now she's worth an estimated £650 million, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.
Unfortunately, being rich comes with its own set of pitfalls.
The author recently divulged that she is suing her former assistant, Amanda Donaldson, after accusing her of embezzling £23,696 ($31,134) and stealing valuable pieces of Harry Potter memorabilia in order to fund her extravagant lifestyle of fancy foods, cosmetics, and designer candles.
Donaldson was employed by the author for three years between 2014 and 2017, during which time she acted as her personal assistant. She was eventually let go in February last year when Neil Murray, Rowling's husband, noticed discrepancies in his wife's spending, and soon worked out that Donaldson had access to her funds. Donaldson was subsequently sacked for gross misconduct, but the author waited until now to take legal action.
In a copy of the lawsuit obtained by the BBC, it is alleged that Donaldson made a series of unauthorised payments over a long period of time. This included: £823 at Bibi Bakery, £1,482 at luxury candle company Jo Malone, £3,629 in cosmetic firm Molton Brown, £2,139 in card shop Paper Tiger, and a whopping £1,636 in Starbucks.
The author also claims that Donaldson took advantage of one of her tasks, which was to process memorabilia requests from fans, in order to steal a Harry Potter motorised Hogwarts Express worth £467.56, a Harry Potter Wizard Collection worth £2231.76 and a Harry Potter Tales of Beedle The Bard Set worth £395.
And as if that wasn't bad enough, Rowling also says that Donaldson bought two cats(!) worth £1,200 using her money, took £7,742-worth of foreign money from a safe, and smuggled away £400 in cash which was supposed to be used as a deposit for a restaurant meal.
"I can confirm J.K. Rowling has taken legal action against her former personal assistant, Amanda Donaldson, following her dismissal for gross misconduct involving a substantial breach of trust," a Rowling spokesperson told the BBC. "As the case is not yet concluded, we are not able to comment further, and there won't be any comment from J.K. Rowling."
So far, Donaldson has only denied the accusations, and says that Rowling has "not suffered any loss and is not entitled to damages."
It is unclear why Rowling waited so long before filing a criminal complaint against her former assistant, and also what will happen to Donaldson if she is found to be guilty of the various accusations.
The case is due to be heard in court before the end of the year.