‘Family man’ on £80,000 a year cheated the company he worked for out of £6.7million…then squandered it gambling on the stock market
A financial controller transferred £6.7million from cash reserves at the company he worked for to “ensure the financial security of his wife and children” despite already being making more than £80,000 a year.
James Hall, 49, then lost most of his money gambling on the FTSE 100 index, Bolton Crown Court heard. Hall, from Bolton, had worked for Merseyside-based shopfitting company Vale UK since 1996 and was good friends with managing director Paul Henerty, said prosecutor Fiona McNeill in court.
Describing Hall as a “great asset to the company”, Mr Henerty said he “trusts him implicitly” and has even planned to make him a director. When the company switched to electronic banking in 2007, Hall was authorized to pay bills and make money transfers online. He was also responsible for approving the company’s expenses.
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In 2012, Hall approached Mr Henerty to ask for a £250,000 loan to buy a better house closer to his daughter’s school. Mr Henerty agreed but subsequently Hall transferred £6.7million over the next three years.
His fraud was exposed during an accounting audit in March 2015. When confronted, Hall said he took the money and put it on the FTSE 100 to “ensure the financial security of his wife and children” but that he had “very little left”. ‘.
In a statement on the impact of the victim, Mr Henerty said he felt “anxious and physically ill” thinking about the amount of money that was taken. He added that he “couldn’t believe it” and now “finds it difficult” to trust those around him.
Despite stealing millions in three years, Hall “found it ridiculous” when he was fired from the company, defense attorney Andrew Nuttall told the court. Mr Nuttall described Hall as a family man with two daughters and said his offense took place during a serious gambling addiction.
He said: “He thought on a completely different level than you would expect from reasonable people. Now he’s struggling to explain it himself and how he could possibly have acted the way he did
“It was a harrowing incident for the company and for him on a mental level. He continues to struggle with how he got into a completely wrong thought pattern.
“He seemed to be deluding himself, like Professor Pangloss in Voltaire’s Candide, who used to say ‘everything turns out well’. He didn’t do it and now he has to pay the piper.”
Judge Tom Gilbart jailed Hall at Eastgrove Avenue, Sharples for six years. He had previously pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud.
Judge Gilbart said: “Before you decided to interfere in these matters you were a man of irreproachable character.
“It was an extremely serious crime. You have received a trust from this company and abused that trust over a long period of time.
“The amounts of money you took are staggering.”
After his conviction, Detective Constable Claire Taylor of Merseyside Police said: “This fraud put a family run business under significant financial pressure and caused heartache and concern to all employees and their families and Hall is now having to weigh the full consequences of his actions while living his.” serving prison time.
“We welcome the fact that Hall is now behind bars following a lengthy and complex police investigation. Fraud can and does destroy individuals and businesses, and fortunately Hall has now been prevented from doing further damage.
“I hope that today’s sentencing of Hall sends a clear message about how seriously police and courts take such crimes. To anyone who believes a company’s fraud is acceptable, we will investigate you and bring you to justice.”
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