27 nov 2013
A FINANCE manager admitted stealing almost £70,000 from a popular East Yorkshire gadget shop. He stole thousands of pounds from RED5 Retail Ltd to blow on a gambling addiction, while working as the firm’s finance manager.
He was working at the Hessle-based gadget and games business when he abused his position of trust and defrauded his employers. Over a three-year period, he defrauded the company out of almost £70,000.
He pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud while in a position of trust between October 2009 to December last year. The fraud involved cashing company cheques, over-paying himself and stealing money from the company while in the position of overseeing the company’s finances.
He has pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud at Hull Crown Court. His barrister, has asked the court to adjourn sentencing him until next January.
He said: “I ask for the sentence to be adjourned for a pre-sentence report for a longer time than the normal period. This case needs a recorder to be sitting and we ask for the case to be adjourned until then, when a judge will be available.”
The Crown Prosecution Service has indicated that it will commence proceeds of crime proceedings to recoup all the money Whittaker stole through his criminal conduct. He may be forced to sell his home and risks having his property seized, including cars, unless he can show it was not as a result of criminal conduct.
The honorary Recorder of Hull and the East Riding Judge Michael Mettyear said he would adjourn the case to the week commencing January 20.
He said: “Keep in touch with your solicitors and they will inform you when you need to be here. You can have unconditional bail until then.”
The offences came to light in December last year when the manager asked to see statements from the company credit card, because he had not seen any for a long time. The firm then reportedly discovered 200 fraudulent transactions totalling £41,653 had been made between April 2009 and December last year.
An internal investigation of the accounts was launched and a catalogue of further fraudulent activities spanning three-and-a-half years was unearthed. Six cheques had been doctored, equating to £5,500, between October 2009 and December last year.
He had fraudulently used the company’s PayPal account 33 times, amounting to £5,189. Whittaker also stole £16,500 by asking shop floats to be sent directly to him, but then failed to bank the money.
RED5 Retail has more than 20 stores and also supplies gadgets and games to top retailers Hamleys and Selfridges.