Trainee accountant stole £60,000 from boss to fund six months of hard drinking

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A trainee accountant stole almost £60,000 from his boss to fund a six-month hedonistic life of hard drinking.

Jake Currie, 26, used his job to fake invoices and frittered away £40,000 of it on having a good time.

The rest went on a £10,000 BMW from a used car dealership plus £9,000 towards his mortgage.

Currie, who is from Heaviley in Stockport, Greater Manchester was caught after he lost his job earning £22,000 at a travel firm after taking a lengthy period of sick leave – then announced he was going on holiday to Canada.

His successor looked into company transactions and noticed money had been diverted into three personal bank accounts set up by Currie. Almost £14,000 had been transferred onto a pre-paid foreign currency card.

Currie later claimed he carried out out the thefts to get ‘some sort of thrill or nihilistic pleasure’ following the death of his grandfather.

At Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester, Currie admitted fraud by abuse of position and converting criminal property between February and September 2018.

He was sentenced to two years in jail suspended for 24 months. He will also have to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

The court heard Currie had attained GCSEs and then A Levels, but dropped out of a university degree course to take up a trainee job for NUCO Travel based in Cheadle in February 2017.

Prosecutor Andrew Mackintosh said: ‘He was paid around £22,000 a year during his traineeship and it was his job to put transactions on the company accountancy system and they would then be authorised by the financial manager.

‘The manager would check them occasionally but generally trusted staff and after about six months the defendant had become familiar enough with the company’s systems to be left alone on the job.

‘In March 2018 he began taking a large amount of sick leave and the accounts fell behind. His manager however saw him as a valuable employee and tried to get him back to work but this did not appear to work.

‘In July 2018 he was called back to work but did not return then in the summer of 2018 he told the company he was going on holiday to Canada and they made him redundant.

‘A new trainee was hired who noticed a number of discrepancies between invoices received and payments made on the system. Three accounts which were identified as belonging to the defendant were disguised as payments to company customers.

‘On December 21, 2018 the defendant’s manager sent him an email saying the mater was being dealt with by police. Between February 27 and September 3, 2018 he transferred £58,127.27 from the company account to his own account in 22 fraudulent transfers.

‘On June 11, 2018 he bought a £10,000 BMW with the money, on December 27, 2018 he paid £9,000 off his mortgage on his Stockport home and the remainder of the money was spent in other ways.

‘On March 21, 2019 he was taken to the police station and gave “no comment” replies at interview. This was sophisticated offending over a sustained period.’

In a brief victim impact statement read out in court, the company’s financial director who was not named said: ‘He has taken advantage of me and abused my trust.’

In mitigation defence barrister Howard Bernstein said: ‘The full amount could be paid off immediately by a loan from his mother.

‘This is a breach of trust and sentencing passes the custody threshold, but it can be suspended. This young man has mental health difficulties and was going through extremely difficult period which underpinned the way he acted.

‘This is out of character as he is a 26-year-old man with no previous convictions who was leading an extremely useful and successful life up until that date.

‘He is now being treated for his mental health problems and is receiving prescription medication from a doctor.

‘A report on him says he dealt very badly with the death of his grandfather whom he was very close to and the defendant became involved in this offending as a way of getting some sort of thrill or nihilistic pleasure.

‘However he has managed to turn his life around and has a new job with a recruitment firm who know about this offending history and that seems to be going well. He has has obvious remorse and total disgust when he considers his offending.’

Sentencing Judge Bernadette Baxter told Currie: ‘You had every possible advantage in life with a loving family and good GCSEs and then A Levels. You went to university but that did not suit you so you got an apprenticeship.

‘Many, many people in society did not have a fraction of the opportunities you had. You had an unfortunate life event and death can be very, very difficult.

‘However, I am afraid it is part of life and something we all have to build resilience towards, and millions do so without turning to crime. You did not have that resilience, perhaps because of your mental health problems or perhaps because you sought solace in drink.

‘You breached the trust placed in you by your then employer and £58,000 is not a small sum of money.

‘You did it in a state of mind where you felt sorry for yourself. You were spending the money on frivolous things, £9,000 on a mortgage and £10,000 payment towards a car.

‘You have then drank and frittered away the rest of the money. I accept your behaviour was out of character for you.’