Dishonesty is always a threat to businesses and it is the nature of the beast that it is often found in the least expected places. In one striking case, creditors lost heavily after the managing director of a respected family company stole £2.5 million.
The man had taken over the helm of the long-established timber business from his father. He sought to blame other employees for the company’s poor performance; however, it eventually emerged that he had helped himself to its funds over a five-year period. Trade and other creditors lost substantial sums after the company became insolvent and loyal members of its staff lost their jobs.
The man was prosecuted and convicted after a trial of three counts of theft and four of false accounting. He was jailed for seven years by a judge who said that his behaviour would have made his father turn in his grave. The facts of the case emerged as the Court of Appeal declined to cut the man’s sentence, ruling that it was justified for crimes which caused substantial harm to others.