Man sentenced to over two years after defrauding workplace
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A man has been sentenced to two years and four months in prison after pleading guilty to fraud.
Liam Connaughton, 28, of Felix Road in Walton-On-Thames, was sentenced for fraud by abuse of position at Guildford Crown Court on Monday, 6 December.
Over a period of nearly two years from July 2019 to March 2021, Connaughton defrauded over £100,000 from his place of work at a credit management company by creating 123 false invoices and diverting payments to his own accounts.
Connaughton worked as a case handler for a company which facilitates the recovery of long term lease vehicles. In February this year, questions were raised following a number of irregularities with the work Connaughton was carrying out. Enquiries were carried out within the company and a number of further issues were identified. When Connaughton was questioned in relation to these, he ran out of the building.
The matter was handed over to Surrey Police. Officers conducted further analysis of his bank accounts and it became apparent that he had created over 100 fake invoices which were being paid into 11 bank accounts owned by Connaughton. The payments ranged from £150 to £3,891.
After being confronted by his employers, Connaughton deleted the chat history and emails on his phone and when Officers arrived to speak to him at his girlfriend’s house on the 31st March 2021 he hid his phone attempting to conceal evidence. From his phone were recovered admissions of guilty to his friends whilst attempting to blame others around him, seemingly to save face. Further enquiries revealed that Connaughton had gambled all of the money away, and said that his criminality was because of a gambling addiction.
Investigating Officer PC Sally Newton said: “Connaughton’s criminal behaviour has hit this company, and its staff, hard and has resulted in a huge financial loss for them. They have also lost business from clients which have taken them years to gain. The loss of business has inevitably resulted in staff redundancies whilst people are still trying to financially recover from the effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
“Connaughton made no financial gains from his actions but had a serious impact on those around him. His employers and colleagues liked and trusted him but in return he betrayed them. Without seeking the correct help for his addiction he became a career conman who pulled the wool over a lot of people’s eyes.
“I really hope that this company can get back on their feet and recover from this they have a hard working team who were committed to assisting Police enquiries, no matter how large the task, and who are equally dedicated to restoring the company’s reputation ”