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Finance Director jailed for five years for invoice fraud

Friday 26th January, 2018

A Finance Director has admitted defrauding firms of around £475,000, including from an offshoot of property firm Allied London, which is behind high-profile Manchester projects in Spinningfields and London Road Fire Station.

Mr Lawson was financial director at Capital Properties Ltd, a property management firm which is part of Allied, from February 2012 until he lost his job as part of a cost cutting measure in 2015, Manchester Crown Court heard.

It was when Lawson’s redundancy package was being agreed that irregularities were found on the company credit card.

Prosecuting, Charlotte Crangle said that it was discovered that the card had been used for personal reasons and had racked up £10,211.

Further investigations uncovered he had also benefited from another £301,477 in 24 separate payments over a two and a half year period, this notwithstanding his £90,000 a year salary.

He did this by fraudulently adapting legitimate invoices from suppliers, changing the payment details to his own bank account and making it seem as though the firm needed to make further payments to suppliers.

Lawson, a trained accountant and law graduate, later claimed it was a ‘simple’ offence to commit because the company was working on projects worth millions of pounds and his illicit dealings were not spotted.

The loss was covered by insurers, but the court heard that Lawson’s offending was partly behind a decision to make redundancies at the firm.

Lawson left the company and in July last year took on a £75,000 a year job as financial controller at family run online sports retailer Sports Shoes Ltd, based in Shipley, West Yorkshire.

Despite being ‘handsomely remunerated’, Lawson fraudulently took £34,562 from the company during the three months he worked for the firm. He created a fake employee and paid himself their wages, transferred money from the company PayPal account and misused the company credit card.

After he was found out, Lawson was ‘scathing’ about Sports Shoes Ltd, claiming the job was ‘beneath’ him and said his salary was ‘about £100,000 too short for what I needed’, it was heard.

Having pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud, Lawson was sentenced to five years and four months in prison.