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Taking on a New Employee? Have You Checked Their Credentials?

As any sensible employer knows, it is essential to check workers’ credentials before taking them on, particularly if they will be handling money. In one case where that did not happen, a company employed a crooked accountant who had fraud convictions and who proceeded to help himself to almost £650,000.

The small but successful company was unaware that the accountant had been found guilty of defrauding previous employers. It remained unsuspicious when he said that he needed time off work to travel abroad to deal with a family crisis. He had in fact been serving a prison sentence. He siphoned off money to eight different personal accounts and generated false invoices to cover his tracks. Much of the money was obsessively spent on thousands of music CDs, many of which he never opened.

The truth emerged after the accountant had been working for the company for some years. He was ultimately jailed for five years after admitting fraud. In rejecting his challenge to that sentence, the Court of Appeal noted his very troubling history of dishonesty, the sophisticated nature of the fraud and the breach of trust involved.