Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Accountant stole £250,000 and blew it on sex workers and hotels

A man who stole more than £250,000 to spend on sex workers and fund his lavish lifestyle has been jailed for three years.

Darren Parker began siphoning off large sums of money from Stortec Engineering Ltd almost immediately after being hired as their financial controller in 2018.

The 43-year-old went on shopping sprees at Argos and Amazon, buying iPhones and laptops, also spending thousands of pounds on hotel stays.

His theft was discovered two years later while he was on holiday by a suspicious colleague

Preston Crown Court heard he had suffered a breakdown and started seeing sex workers, who demanded ‘goods, and homes in Spain’.

But Parker, who has been married for nine years, claimed he did not seek sexual gratification and only visited the women for company.

At his sentence hearing, recorder Carwyn Cox told Parker: ‘This was a catastrophic fall for you.

‘You left school at 16 and have worked in finance since and have been married for nine years.

‘Since this offending, you no longer work in finance and never will again. You used this money to fund your lifestyle, to a total sum of just over £250,000. The impact on Stortec is considerable.’

A spokesperson for the company stressed that Parker’s theft could not have come at a ‘worse time’ after the financial repercussions of the pandemic, and that they were forced to make redundancies.

They said: ‘This could not have come at a worse time, as we uncovered this fraud in the middle of the pandemic when business conditions were already extremely challenging for a start-up business operating as a key supplier to the water and renewable energy sectors.

‘The disruption to our business from the theft and the extent of Parker’s covering deceptions cannot be underestimated.

‘Unfortunately, it was necessary to make redundancies due to a financial position that could not be supported by fact once the extent of the thefts became clear.’

Between March 2018, and June 2020, Parker withdrew £181,596 from the company accounts.

He then extracted £38,592 from Stortec’s bank between April 2018, and August 2020.

And from June 2018, and August 2020, he went on to take out £35,115, with the total value of the money he took totalling £255,304.

After his arrest, Parker pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud in February 2022.

Recorder Cox said: ‘Your explanation is that you suffered a breakdown, but you were not able to say whether that was work, or home or alcohol, and found yourself depressed.

‘You found yourself in the company of prostitutes, but you were not seeking sexual gratification, only company.

‘You wanted to be liked and then you started paying for hotels and used funds from the company after you had exhausted all your savings.

‘Then those women began demanding goods, and homes in Spain to be purchased. You wanted to go to the police but you didn’t.’

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