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Hotel manager jailed for £350,000 false invoice scam

17 March 2016 by
Hotel manager jailed for £350,000 false invoice scam

A hotel manager has been sentenced to three years and four months in prison after he stole more than £350,000 from his workplace through a false invoice scam.

Eamonn Canavan, 47 (pictured) admitted fraud by abuse of position part way through his trial at Guildford Crown Court in January.

He was sentenced at the same court on 10 March for the offences committed at a hotel in Charlwood, near Gatwick Airport.

Canavan created invoices from fictitious staffing agencies which purported to supply staff to the hotel, before he pocketed the money.

Over seven years, he set up bank accounts with names sounding similar to staff agencies the hotel had previously used and it was through the accounts he requested invoices.

He scammed the hotel out of enough money to buy a hotel of his own to run in Wales and even loaned his former employers £170,000 to help during the economic crisis.

Bissi Johnson, who worked at the hotel as a waitress, was given a two-year suspended sentence for her role in the scam. The 56-year-old of Kempshott Road, London also pleaded guilty part way through the same trial and admitted money laundering £10,000.

The offences were reported to Surrey Police in August 2012 when the hotel owners realised the invoices for agency staff did not match up with the hours they were owed for.

Canavan, of the Bryn Howell hotel and restaurant in Llangollen, North Wales, was confronted about the unusual activity and resigned in March 2012. He was arrested in July 2013.

Investigating officer Kevin Booth, from Surrey Police, said: "Eamonn Canavan displayed a ruthless streak of greed which was eventually his downfall as his victims uncovered his devious plot.

"He forced himself into a position of trust at what was an established family business and took it to the brink of ruin as he syphoned off money through fake invoices.

"Staff did question his methods but he dismissed their queries using his superior position and iron fist rule to continue with his deceit.

"When he realised the game was up he resigned from his position and later bought himself a hotel of his own in Wales at a cost of more than £1m."

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