Jailed: Telford financial controller in £443,000 fraud paid himself a double salary
The financial controller of a Telford company stole almost half a million pounds from the firm by paying himself a double salary and ‘bonuses’ for six years.
Jonathan Darren Lucas, 50, of Waterlow Close, Priorslee, Telford, was jailed for three years and 10 months after admitting defrauding his employer, SP Services UK Ltd, of £443,887, between 2011 and 2017.
At Shrewsbury Crown Court on Friday, Judge Anthony Lowe said the money he took was an enormous sum.
“What may have started as an offence of necessity became an offence of greed,” he said.
“This was a breach of trust of the highest level from a small company employing 35 people.
“There were elements of sophistication to cover up payments paid to you.”
Mr Nick Tatlow, prosecuting, said that Lucas had defrauding the company, which was involved in the supply of medical equipment internationally, for six years.
It began to be exposed in the autumn of 2017, when Lucas was suspended for a different reason and another employee couldn’t balance the books.
Accountants were brought in and the level of fraud found grew, from an initial £97,000 to £261,500 and then eventually the full total.
Mr Tatlow said that Lucas, who earned £37,500 a year, had been paying himself twice, with a monthly salary going into one bank account in the name of J Lucas and another in the name JD Lucas.
He had also been overstating the amount that the company was paying to the HMRC under Pay as You Earn and giving himself the remainder as ‘bonuses’.
In a victim impact statement from the business, the company owner said that he had felt betrayed that a member of his staff had acted in such a way and that it had financially harmed the company. About £63,000 also had to be spent by the company sorting out the crime.
Mr Robert Edwards for Lucas, said his client realised that he had placed his firm in a difficult financial position.
His client’s own financial problems began in 2007 when firstly his wife and then he was made redundant.
They re-mortgaged their home and, despite Lucas getting his job with SP Services, they remained in financial straits and resorted to using credit cards and then pay day loans.
“It became a whirlwind of increased debt and increased interest and he felt there was no legitimate way out,” Mr Edwards said.
“He took the first money from the company as a loan that he was going to repay but it got out of control.”
“He is full of remorse and knows that he has let himself and his family down. He did it to do the best that he could for his family.”
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