Accountant stole �80k from Great Yarmouth firm SeaJacks

A company accountant at a Great Yarmouth-based offshore company stole more than �80,000 from his employer after shares he bought in the company failed to make the gains he thought, a court heard.

Mark Hewitt, 36, was in charge of the day-to-day finances of SeaJacks in Great Yarmouth, earning more than �65,000 a year, and had invested cash in buying shares in the company on the understanding they would do well, Norwich Crown Court heard.

However Robert Warner, prosecuting, said that Hewitt claimed the shares did not do as well as he thought and had then stolen �80,000 from the company in 'dribs and drabs'.

The court heard that Hewitt used the money he took to pay �10,500 towards a wedding reception in Essex which he later cancelled but kept 56 bottles of wine and champagne. He also used the cash to pay credit cards as well as putting payments into his own bank account.

The court heard that the thefts came to light after he left the company and the discrepancies were noticed by the new accountant.

Hewitt has since repaid �60,000 to the company which he believes is the full amount he stole from the company.

Mr Warner said that when arrested, Hewitt said that the reason behind the thefts was that he had bought shares in the company and was told they would do well on the Norwegian stock exhange.

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'But they did not progress as he was expecting.'

He said that when the money did not materialise he had started stealing the cash.

Hewitt, of Rushton Drive, Carlton Colville, Lowestoft, admitted the thefts over a two year period.

Jailing him for 16 months Recorder Christopher Makey said it had been a 'serious breach of trust.'

'You were the sole person dealing with the finances of the company on a day to day basis.'

He said that it involved a substantial amount of money and added: 'It was money taken in dribs and drabs over a two year period. This was a serious breach of trust.'

However he accepted that Hewitt believed he had repaid the stolen cash in full and gave him credit for repaying the money.

Jonathan Morgans, for Hewitt, said : 'He is of the belief that he has paid all the money back.'

He said that Hewitt had put everything he had into buying shares and thought he would get his money back plus more but when this did not happen he had taken the cash.

He said that Hewitt had co-operated with the investigation and because of the delay of the case coming to court he had the matter hanging over him for a long time.

'This is a man who will never come before any court again.'

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