The financial controller of a major Midlands catering firm defrauded the company out of £41,000 at a time when it was in financial difficulties, a court heard.
Paul Thompson , 49, from Coventry, who worked for Hopkinson Catering of Leamington Spa, admitted a series of theft and false accounting charges when he appeared before Warwick Crown Court on 11 November. He was jailed for 18 months.
The court heard that during 2005/6, when Thompson was perpetrating his fraud, Hopkinson Catering employed 800 people and had a turnover of £16m, but that it was already beginning to experience financial difficulties.
In 2007 the company went into administration after it was unable to pay VAT and PAYE owed.
It was during the subsequent investigation that Thompson's fraud came to light. It was revealed that over a six month period, when he processed the company's VAT and PAYE he kept back £41,000 for himself, altering the books to cover up the fraud.
In mitigation it was said that Thompson, who was earning £50,000 a year, had used the money to pay off his partner's debts.
But jailing him Judge Robert Orme said:
"An aggravating and unhappy feature of the case is that while the company was starting to encounter financial problems you, as financial controller, were lining your own pockets."
By Andrew Smith
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