01 July 2013
Accountant forced to pay compensation
An accountant who stole money from his employers has been forced to pay £340,000 in compensation.
Andrew Richards, 46, is currently in prison after he stole more than £700,000 from a number of companies he worked for and was sentenced to three years for his crime.
Mr Richards used the money he siphoned from employees' pay packets to fund a lifestyle that included holidays, jewellery and expensive cars, according to the Gazette.
Although ThyssenKrupp had £531,600 stolen by the man, because he spent most of it, magistrates could only arrange for £244,664 in compensation to be paid back - meaning the company lost £179,698, which is enough to pay several salaries and may have helped the firm to avoid reducing staff hours and pay.
Mr Richards has been given six months to find the money to reimburse the businesses and if he does not do this he will be forced to spend another 18 months in prison on top of his existing sentence.
Detective Inspector Dave Turnbull, head of Cleveland Police's economic crime unit, told the paper: "It's a very satisfactory conclusion to the investigation and the victims will get some compensation. This is the biggest order we've had for some time.
"The Proceeds of Crime Act is all about making sure that criminals don't benefit from their crime and where there are victims, getting the money back to them. The money will go to compensate victims of the crime, which is very important."
However, Det Insp Turnbull did praise Mr Richard for complying with police investigations from the start and said he has been helpful in arranging payments to those who he wronged.
It was also revealed in the court case against the man he had suffered clinical depression that had contributed to his actions - hence the relatively lenient sentence.
Although £420,631 has not been paid back by the former chartered accountant, if he does gain money or assets in the future, these will be drained to further compensate victims of his past crimes.
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Posted by Chris Stevenson