CFO transferred over £ 18,000 in fraudulent payments to his own accounts
A man who cleared thousands of pounds in fraudulent payments into his own accounts in just five months as the finance director of a leisure company has escaped jail.
Jason Cherrington had pleaded guilty to a breach of trust fraud charge while working for Active Nation UK Ltd at Hatton Rock Business Park near Warwick.
Cherrington, 37, of Frederick Neal Avenue, Eastern Green, Coventry, was sentenced to 20 months in prison suspended for two years, including drug rehab and rehab activity.
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Sentencing him to Warwick Crown Court, recorder Penelope Stanistreet-Keen also imposed a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. for two months to “make sure you don’t disappear on a bender” and ordered him to pay Â£ 340 in fees.
Prosecutor Raj Punia said Cherrington was employed as a chief financial officer by Active Nation, which operates sports and fitness facilities across the country, in April 2019.
But he was fired in September of the same year because he had failed his probationary period – and it was only after he left that his dishonesty was exposed.
His job had given him access to the company’s finances and he was authorized to make payments of up to Â£ 2,500.
The person who took over his role noticed an unusual payment reference, supposedly made to a vendor called J Foy for Â£ 2,472 – but not made in the normal form.
A check was then made on Cherrington’s bank account which had a credit that appeared to match this payment.
Realizing that this was not a genuine transaction, an investigation began which showed that in August and September 2019 Cherrington had made 12 bogus payments totaling Â£ 18,637.
Of these, 11 went to two of his personal accounts, while the 12th payment of Â£ 2,423 went to a friend whom the police later spoke to.
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He explained that Cherrington asked to use his account and agreed, not suspecting anything dishonest, and then transferred the money to Cherrington.
When Cherrington was arrested, he said that in 2019 he gambled and drank more than he ever had, had debt issues and fully recognized what he was doing. did.
William Douglas-Jones, defending, said: “Mr. Cherrington has admitted his conduct in an interview in a full and frank manner, and my mitigation focuses on the suspension of any custodial sentence Your Honor deems. appropriate.
âIt was about nine months between the interview and his first court appearance, so this case had been hanging over him for some time. “
He said Cherrington’s previous drinking and driving conviction was “indicative of his drinking problems” and that at the time he was playing to try and solve his debt problems.
Mr Douglas-Jones said Cherrington now has a new job and did not tell his employer about the case when he pleaded, but now did and had to attend a meeting with a manager – but hoped keep his job.
He also initially failed to tell his 19-year-old partner, who is a lawyer, and, with a young son, she would have a hard time if he wasn’t there.
And Mr Douglas-Jones said although there had been no formal claim for compensation, Cherrington had indicated he could afford to pay Â£ 400 a month.
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Convicting Cherrington, the Stanistreet-Keen recorder told him: âYou defrauded this business over a five-week period out of Â£ 18,637.
âYou took the money because your personal debts were out of control due to your gambling and alcohol abuse.
âI’m afraid you continued to work in the financial industry and didn’t tell your employer.
“I’m told you’ve done it now, but you’re used to only telling the truth when you have no other choice.”
âI know little about the impact on the business, but no business can lose that amount of money without impact. “
Telling him that she was ready to suspend the sentence, she added: âIt seems to me that you are at a crossroads. The curfew is to make sure you don’t disappear on a bender for days at a time.
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