Ex Southport jeweller faces jail for £43k fraud

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Paul Wilding posed as accountant to steal from water treatment firm.

A former Southport jewellery shop owner is facing a jail term after pleading guilty to stealing more than £43,000 from a social club and a water treatment firm.

Paul Wilding, who used to own a jewellery shop in Southport’s Cambridge Walk, stole £18,649 from Southport Conservative Club in 2009 while acting as the club’s deputy treasurer.

Wilding then went on to steal £25,874 a year later from Brodex Machine Services, where he was working as an accountant while on bail for the first offence. He managed to secure the job at the water treatment firm by submitting a false CV, which earned him an extra count of fraud in court.

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At Liverpool Crown Court, Wilding admitted to authorising bank transfers from his employer’s accounts to pay his rent and writing fraudulent cheques amounting to thousands of pounds. He was eventually caught when Brodex Machine Service put a stng operation in place to catch him red handed.

The extent of Wilding’s theft had put so much financial pressure on Brodex Machine Services that it was failing to pay its suppliers, its credit rating dipped and it was forced to make members of staff redundant. Managing director Sean Burke said that Wilding had duped him into believing his company had less money that it really did and added that the most crushing part of the story was having to have lost staff through redundancies that he now knows were not necessary.

Simon Christie, who was defending Wilding in court, described his client as a middle-aged man of good character who did not steal to “fund a luxurious lifestyle… but to dig himself out of dire straits”.

Wilding will return to court for sentencing on February 10 and Judge Bryn Holloway warned the former jeweller that a jail sentence would be an “almost inevitable consequence” of his fraudulent behaviour.

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