Finance boss stole more than £1m to fund lavish lifestyle – BBC


A former finance boss has been jailed for more than 10 years after admitting stealing £1.2 million to fund a lavish lifestyle.
Michael Black, from Somerset, took the money from three businesses, spending it on a house, foreign holidays and expensive cars.
The director of one company, which went into administration because of the losses, described him as a "parasite".
Black, 56, was also given a 12-year company director disqualification.
Bristol Crown Court was told the offences were committed between 2010 and 2019.
Avon and Somerset Police said Black was trusted with company finances at three different businesses.
On more than 400 occasions, he transferred money from their accounts to his, disguising the transfers so they did not appear to go directly to him.
Between 2010 and 2016, while working at UK Bathroom Village Ltd in Somerset, he used credit cards and wrote more than 200 company cheques for personal expenditure. He also paid himself fake expenses totalling £36,000.
Police found Black used company credit cards to make more than 1,000 Amazon purchases over four years, including electrical goods, speakers, books, plus DIY and gardening equipment.
His crimes were uncovered while he was on holiday in 2016 and issues arose with supplier payments, leading to a closer examination of the company accounts.
Black left the company and went to work for a dentistry business where he stole more money, using some of it to repay part of the debt to his previous employer.
Then, between 2017 and 2019, he defrauded a music promotion business he was working for.
Black, of Paulton Road in Hallatrow, pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud. Three further counts were ordered to lie on file.
Avon and Somerset Police fraud investigator Niki White, said: "He [Black] sought to use company money to fund a lifestyle he wanted but could not afford. His motivation was pure greed."
Steven Hawkins, managing director of UK Bathroom Village Ltd which Black took more than £1 million from, said the crime had been devastating for the company, with staff afraid for their jobs and senior management concerned it might not be able to continue.
He said it had taken "years" to uncover the full extent of Black's deception.
"Due to Michael's fraudulent activities, we were unable to use profits to give staff pay rises and we lost many good people purely down to financial reasons," Mr Hawkins said.
"To add insult to injury, at one point Michael even claimed we owed him money, a statement that was untrue of course, but highlights the audacity of this calculated, deceitful man."
Mr Hawkins said Black's fraud led to the company being put into administration in 2019 but it was able to relaunch.
He added: "To this day, we are still recovering from Michael's actions.
"Unfortunately, we have been working with a parasite, who had been feeding off our trusting nature.
"He enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle, creating a manor house, driving a fancy car, going on expensive holidays and hosting lavish parties.
"He led people to believe he was well-connected and an astute businessman who could be relied on – when really, he was nothing more than a thief."
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