A FINANCIAL consultant with a gambling habit defrauded a company out of more than £50,000.
David Richard Bradford, 57, was taken on by Medical Gas Solutions Ltd (MGS) – based in Bagillt, Flintshire – initially as a £260-a-day independent consultant.
He was then appointed to a £71,000-a-year job in control of the company’s finances.
Mold Crown Court heard how he was to be paid monthly – but he sometimes paid himself two or three times a month.
The total loss to the company was £53,690, money which it could ill-afford to lose.
During that time the company’s managing director went without a salary for three months to ensure his staff received wages.
While he was stealing, Bradford spent £37,000 on gambling and made a net loss of £17,000.
Bradford, of Cleeve Hill Gardens, Sheffield, who had a previous conviction for stealing from an employer in 1986, admitted fraud by dishonestly obtaining money from MGS Ltd between January 2011 and October 2012 and was jailed for two years. Judge Philip Hughes told Bradford that while the company MD denied himself a salary to ensure employees could be paid, he was “milking the company for your own selfish and dishonest purposes”.
It was, he said, a “grave breach of trust” involving serious and repeated offences.
A large number of people had written testimonials on his behalf but the judge said the fact that Bradford had not told them of the prosecution “spoke volumes” of the defendant.
The court heard how MGS Ltd MD Steve Gullick took Bradford on as a financial consultant to help guide the firm through its sale to a larger company.
He was paid £260 a day, together with his accommodation expenses.
Bradford received nearly £6,000 a month before being taken on full time on a £71,000 salary with travel and accommodation expenses.
He was in full control of the company finances and was in a high position of trust, when he generated additional invoices to pay himself extra salary.
Sometimes he paid himself twice or three times a month.
A part-time employee in accounts realised what was going on, alerted the MD, and when confronted, Bradford claimed that did not happen by design.
He was dismissed and wrote out a credit note to the company, but the money had never been repaid.
It turned out that in 1986 he had received a partially suspended sentence for stealing from a French company in Sheffield where he was employed as an accountant.
The court was also told that in 2011 there was an investigation into false invoices involving a company which failed and Bradford reimbursed the receiver on the basis that he was incompetent rather than being dishonest. He was not prosecuted at that stage.
Defence barrister David Birrell said it was plainly a serious matter involving a breach of trust.
The offending was not sophisticated and was easily detected. Bradford had not, as in many other cases, covered up his tracks or disguised his offending.
Bradford, who had suffered a heart attack and had depression, supported a sick wife and a son and was the family’s sole breadwinner, who wanted to finance two sons through university from September.
He was a respected school governor at two schools and among the many testimonials was one from a headteacher, Mr Birrell said.
Bradford did good work in the community, was generous with his time, and had a passion for encouraging and enhancing the lives of young people.
He was a devoted father who was at a loss to explain his offending.
Mr Birrell suggested a suspended prison sentence for his client, who, he said, was deeply ashamed at what he had done.