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Shropshire woman who stole £600,000 from family firm to pay back just £133,000

By Deborah Hardiman | Much Wenlock | Crime | Published:

A Shropshire woman who stole more than £600,000 from her family's engineering firm can only repay £133,000.

Aimee Purchase and Rikki Purchase when they were sentenced two years ago

Aimee Purchase, 38, from Much Wenlock, was jailed for 32 months in 2017 for defrauding MI Engineering Ltd, which was owned by her parents Ian and Yvonne Skidmore.

Purchase was the finance director and the only person who had access to the funds at the family firm based in Lye, Stourbridge.

Shrewsbury Crown Court previously heard that she carried out the crime after being put under pressure by her husband, Rikki Purchase, to steal it so that he could set up on his own.

Proceeds of crime hearing

On Monday the pair appeared at the court for a proceeds of crime hearing to determine how much of their ill-gotten gains can be recouped.

Prosecuting barrister Mr Charles Hamer said Aimee Purchase benefitted to the tune of £667,175.71 and the amount to be realised from her available assets is £133,065.46. Rikki Purchase benefitted by £233,090.95 and the amount to be realised from him is £10,125.

Mitigating barrister representing Aimee Purchase Miss Sophie Murray told the court: “She has three children and has already spent time in custody. Her only asset is her home. It is going to be difficult as she doesn’t want to take her children’s home away.

“She is going to try to raise the money by some other way rather than selling up.”

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Judge Peter Barrie made a confiscation order for the sums of £133,065.46 and £10,125 which must be repaid within three months or the defendants face default periods of 18 months and six months in prison respectively.

The sums will be paid as compensation to MI Engineering.

Jailed

Aimee Purchase, of Hunter's Gate, Much Wenlock, was jailed after pleading guilty to fraud by abuse of a position of trust.

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Rikki Purchase, 40, of the same address, pleaded guilty money laundering to the value of more than £100,000 and was sentenced to two years jail, suspended for two years for his role in the deception.

The couple were arrested in July 2015 when the offences came to light when the accounts were audited and in her police interview Aimee Purchase "acknowledged that she was responsible for siphoning the funds" while her husband blamed the Skidmores for what happened.

Rikki Purchase was the director of a Telford-based company called Monster Tuning Limited.

When the couple were sentenced in July 2017 Detective Inspector Emma Wright of West Mecia Police said: “As a result of MI Engineering Limited completing its year-end accounts in August 2014, it was established that there was a discrepancy to the value of more than £660,000.

“The investigation by Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police’s Economic Crime Unit found that the money had been paid to either an account in the name of Monster Tuning Limited or had been credited to accounts belonging to Aimee and Rikki Purchase.

“Inquiries revealed that the money stolen from MI Engineering Limited had been used to fund the couple’s lifestyle and also to support Rikki Purchase’s company Monster Tuning Limited.”

Deborah Hardiman

By Deborah Hardiman
@Deborahh_Star

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based out of the head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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