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Director stole £50,000 from employer to fund luxury holiday and gastric band operation

Mirror logo Mirror 02/11/2017 Philip Dewey

person standing in a kitchen: Credits: Facebook © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Facebook A director stole £50,000 from her employer to pay for a gastric band operation and a luxury £10,000 holiday.

Jean Wilson, who lived in a rented mansion, also blew cash on paying for vets’ bills, dog sitters, and dog groomers in a “sophisticated” scam.

The 58-year-old appeared at Cardiff Crown Court on Tuesday after she had previously pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position.

The defendant had held the position of managing director at Axcis Education Recruitment, now known as RO Education Ltd, for five years before her embezzlement was discovered and had spent 10 years at the company in total.

a bench in front of a building: Credits: South Wales Echo © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: South Wales Echo

Prosecutor Sam Shepard said: "The defendant has pleaded guilty to deliberately falsifying records including invoices, impersonating clients by email, and of taking large sums of money.

“The defendant presented in most cases invoices purporting to be invoices for legitimate uses for the company’s spending money but in actual fact the bank details were that of recipients for the defendant’s personal benefit.”

One invoice was purported to be for a special needs education magazine but was a bill of £420 for a domestic upholstery cleaning company used by a friend of Wilson’s.

The former teacher also submitted an invoice for £9,504, purporting to be for a company involved with the National College of Teaching, but was in fact for a company called Healthier Weight and was a bill for the defendant’s gastric band operation.

Anther invoice submitted by Wilson, again purporting to be for the National College of Teaching, was a £9,380 bill for a company called Audley Travel for the defendant’s luxury holiday to Thailand, Bali, and Singapore.

The court heard Wilson had blown in the region of £55,000 during her time as managing director on a gastric band, a lavish holiday to Thailand, Bali, and Singapore, and various dog grooming appointments among other costs. 

In her role Wilson had provision for the company’s budget but abused her position by falsifying invoices to include her own bank details or those of services she had used for her personal use.

Further invoices for the company included bills for a veterinary hospital, dog groomer, dog sitter, and a raffle prize at a dog show.

Wilson also engaged with contracts and suppliers for the company and inflated sums to be higher than their actual costs which meant she had an “additional bonus” at the end of the year.

The defendant, of previous good character, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position at magistrates’ court.

Mr Shepard said: “This was an abuse of trust as managing director – the manipulation of invoices was sophisticated, involved planning and was conducted over a significant period of time.”

The prosecutor also asked the court to start Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) proceedings in relation to Wilson.

Defending, Robert Goodwin said his client accepted she had abused her position and agreed there was a level of sophistication to the deception but added it was “inevitable” she would get caught.

He said: “She can’t remember in detail what she was doing at the time because of her mental health.

“She accepts she took the money but she struggles to identify when she did it or why she did it.”

He added: “She says her mental health problems and manic depression makes her spend money on frivolous things.

“Her property in Porthcawl was rented out for free while she rented a mansion in Cowbridge.

“She said she now has no further assets which has led to a deterioration of her mental health.”

Mr Goodwin said Wilson would be willing to give up her pension as means of compensation to the company, which has an office Newport.

The Recorder of Cardiff , Judge Eleri Rees, adjourned the sentencing for a report to be drawn up regarding Wilson’s mental health but she warned the defendant she was in danger of facing an immediate custodial sentence.

Wilson, of Port Talbot , was granted bail until her sentencing on Wednesday, November 29.

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