Cambridgeshire

Turners employee funnelled £200k into fake companies

George Leech Image copyright Cambridgeshire Police
Image caption George Leech admitted fraud by abuse of position

A man invented fictitious companies to defraud his employers of more than £200,000 shortly after handing in his notice, a court has heard.

George Leech, 20, created false invoices to pay companies connected to his own account while working for transport firm Turners in 2018.

Cambridge Crown Court was told Leech, of Ely, Cambridgeshire, spent the money on holidays, gambling and tattoos.

Leech was detained for two years after admitting fraud by abuse of position.

Prosecutor John Kellett told the court Leech had been employed by the company since he was 16 and worked his way up through the accounts team.

But after handing in his notice on 11 July, he set up a series of accounts and arranged invoices to fictitious companies with "realistic" names not to raise suspicion.

'Snowballed'

In total Leech, of Downham Road, took about £214,000 from 17 July until 1 August and was stopped on 6 August when the "banks rumbled him", Mr Kellett said.

The accounts were frozen and Turners has been paid back much of the money, but £97,000 remains outstanding.

In mitigation, Michael Morris said Leech made a "full admission" when arrested and that the offending arose from a gambling addiction which began when he was 18.

He said Leech had been diagnosed with depression and had sent an email to Turners staff to apologise.

Mr Morris said that initially Leech, who had no previous convictions and three unconditional offers to start university in September, needed £10,000 to pay off a gambling debt.

Judge Stuart Bridge said he accepted that but told Leech "when you realised how relatively straightforward it was... everything snowballed".

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