Friday, April 24, 2009

Law & Order : Crooked Scots accountant jailed for 1 year over £25k embezzlement

Scottish accountants have bee carefully developing a reputation of being just as crooked as the legal profession,as previous reports seem to indicate.

In a recent case, an accountant decided to embezzle some £25,000 from his employers, and ended up only getting one year in jail …

BBC News reports :

Prison for embezzling accountant

An accountant has been jailed for a year for embezzling £25,000 from an Edinburgh jewellery shop to fund his own business.

James Wyse stole the money while looking after the books at Edinburgh diamond specialist Macintyres between April 2006 and March 2008.

Wyse, 54, pled guilty to the embezzlement last June.

He tried to avoid jail by repaying the cash, but Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard he had only managed to pay £10,000.

He has been unable to sell his Kirkcaldy home or re-mortgage it to raise the rest of the money owed due to the current economy.

He was in a position of trust that he severely abused, he deserved to go to prison
Stephen Turner Macintyres co-owner

Sheriff Isabella McColl said the courts have a duty to protect companies and other organisations from corrupt professional advisors.

She said the length of the embezzlement meant Wyse must be jailed, but reduced the sentence from 18 months because he had pled guilty at the first opportunity.

His former boss, co-owner of Macintyres Stephen Turner was in court and said afterwards he felt the length of the sentence was "justified".

"He was in a position of trust that he severely abused, he deserved to go to prison," said Mr Turner.

"The damage he did to the company was a great deal more than the money he stole so it has taken us time to recover from that."

He said the company would continue to pursue Wyse for £31,000 through the Court of Session, and could force him to sell his home.

Unauthorised payments

Wyse was seen behaving oddly at the Frederick Street jeweller in February 2007, when an assistant reported him hovering over her as she opened the mail.

The company ordered a full financial review and found £25,000 was missing from the accounts.

Police were called in and it was discovered Wyse had made 15 unauthorised online payments out of company accounts into his own account.

Wyse, of Kirkcaldy, pled guilty to the embezzlement last June and the Crown has been taking steps since to recover more than £30,000 under proceeds of crime law.

His lawyer, Keith Leishman, said Wyse had been of good character up until the offence and was at low risk of re-offending.

"It is something he's deeply ashamed of," Mr Leishman added.

The proceeds of crime case will call again next month.

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