A CHARTERED accountant and former chief executive of Wrexham FC who was jailed for defrauding his business partners has failed to convince leading judges to free him.
Paul Gerard Retout, 53, of Graigadwywynt, Ruthin, conned his partners at a London-based accountancy company out of nearly £60,000 during 2007 and 2008.
He pleaded guilty to fraud and was jailed for 16 months at Kingston Crown Court in Surrey last September.
Yesterday, he appealed, complaining that the sentence should have been suspended, but his case was dismissed by three Appeal Court judges.
“Having considered the submissions we are not persuaded the sentence should have been suspended,” said Mr Justice Griffith Williams.
“The frauds were committed by a professional man. They were committed in serious breach of trust.
“They were carefully planned to deceive his partners. They were carried out over a two-year period for his personal gain.”
The court heard Retout worked for the London firm from his home in Denbighshire and submitted invoices to be paid.
After discrepancies were noticed in his payments, an investigation was launched and, although he initially denied wrongdoing, he finally admitted guilt.
He pleaded guilty on the basis that he had submitted four dishonest invoices in 2007 and nine in 2008, obtaining £59,806.
His conduct was not fraudulent from the beginning and he had carried out other legitimate work during those years, the court was told.
Retout appealed on the basis that the sentence should have been suspended, allowing him to serve it at home.
He was of previous good character, was not guilty of violent offending and had suffered for four years while his case was investigated, he said.
But Mr Justice Williams, who heard the appeal with Lord Justice Jackson and Judge Brian Barker, said the sentence was justified.
“In our judgement there was a high level of culpability,” he said.
“The mitigation was properly reflected in the length of the sentence and it was not such as to justify an order for suspension.”