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Somerset man who stole over £1million to fund lavish lifestyle jailed Bath City News

A Somerset man has been jailed for 10 years after stealing over £1million from his employers to fund a lavish lifestyle. Michael Black, 56, fraudulently pocketed around £1.2million from three companies he worked for between 2010 and 2019.

The former finance manager appeared at Bristol Crown Court on Friday, April 22, where he was sentenced to 10 years and nine months in prison and given a 12-year business director disqualification.

Black was entrusted with the company’s finances at three different companies and on more than 400 occasions he abused his position to transfer money from their accounts to his. He disguised the transfers so that they did not appear to go directly to him.

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Additionally, between 2010 and 2016, while working at a bathroom company in Somerset, he also used credit cards and wrote over 200 company checks for personal expenses. He also paid himself illegitimate expenses totaling £36,000.

The money he got was used to buy and expand an expensive family home, pay large mortgage payments, as well as buy overseas family vacations and expensive cars. During the police investigation, evidence revealed that Black had used company credit cards for four years to make more than 1,000 purchases on Amazon, including electronics, speakers, books, as well as DIY and gardening materials.

His actions came to light while he was on vacation in 2016 and problems arose with payments to suppliers. Close inspection of accounts identified fraudulent payments.

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After leaving the company, he continued to work for a dentistry company where he stole more money, which was partly used to repay some of what he stole from his former employer. He then defrauded a music promotion company while working for them between 2017 and 2019.

Black, of Paulton Road in Hallatrow, near Bath, pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud on February 7. Three other counts have been filed.

Judge Michael Longman called Black’s actions despicable and acknowledged the impact of the offense on people working in the companies Black defrauded. Steven Hawkins, managing director of UK Bathroom Village Ltd, of which Black took seven figures, said the impact had been “immeasurable”.

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Mr Hawkins, in his personal victim statement, said: “The revelation of Michael’s fraud and the extent of the financial damage has left staff worried about losing their jobs and the management team worried. the survival of the business.

“We spent hours, days, weeks, months, years unraveling Michael’s deception, not to mention the time spent on the police investigation, meeting with corporate bodies and for a long time we were embroiled to the investigation, rather than moving the business forward.

“Because of Michael’s fraudulent activities, we have not been able to use the profits to give staff raises and we have lost many good people for purely financial reasons. We are rebuilding relationships with suppliers that Michael has destroyed, due to his surly behavior and we continue to work tirelessly to rebuild our reputation within the industry.

“To add insult to injury, at one point Michael even claimed that we owed him money, a statement which was of course untrue but which highlights the audacity of this calculated and deceitful man. .”

Mr Hawkins said Black’s fraud led to the company going into administration in 2019 but it was able to relaunch. He added: “To this day, we are still recovering from Michael’s actions.

“I can’t bear to think of the missed opportunities and what the business would be like today if we had that money to invest over the years. Unfortunately, we worked with a parasite, which had fed on our confident nature.

“He had a luxurious lifestyle, creating a mansion, driving a fancy car, going on expensive vacations and throwing lavish parties. He led people to believe he was well-connected and an astute businessman on who could be counted on – when in reality he was nothing more than a thief.”

Fraud investigator-in-charge Niki White said: “Michael Black spent years trying to cover his tracks to cover up the fraud he was committing. He sought to use company money to fund a lifestyle he wanted but couldn’t afford, his motivation was pure greed.

“It’s often said that crime doesn’t pay and Black learned that lesson with this conviction.” Anyone who suspects fraud should report it to Action Fraud via their website or on 0300 123 2040.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-25 17:25:35

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