Fraudster’s CFO paid thousands into his own account
A MAN who cleared thousands of pounds in fraudulent payments into his own accounts in just five months as the CFO 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 Stratford.
The 37-year-old, from Frederick Neal Avenue, Eastern Green, Coventry, was sentenced to 20 months in prison suspended for two years, including drug rehab and re-education activity.
Sentencing him to Warwick Crown Court, recorder Penelope Stanistreet-Keen also imposed a nighttime curfew for two months to ‘make sure you don’t disappear on a bender’, and ordered him to pay £ 340 worth of money. costs.
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 £ 2,500.
The person who returned to duty noticed an unusual payment reference, supposedly made to a supplier called J Foy for £ 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 £ 18,637.
Of these, 11 went to two of his personal accounts, while the 12th payment of £ 2,423 went to a friend whom the police later spoke to.
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 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 drinking problems. indebtedness.
Mr Douglas-Jones added that Cherrington now had a new job and had not told him about the case when he pleaded, but had now done so and had to attend a meeting with a manager – but hoped to keep his use.
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 £ 400 a month.
Condemning Cherrington, the Stanistreet-Keen recorder told him, “I’m told you’ve done it now, but you’re used to only telling the truth when you have no other alternative.
“I don’t know much about the impact on the business, but no business can lose that amount of money without impact. “