Man defrauded more than £1.3m from Norfolk firm to fund gambling addiction

SealSkinz

Andrew May jailed four years for defrauding £1.3m from SealSkinz based in King's Lynn - Credit: Google

A trusted manager gambled away more than £1.3m he defrauded from a Norfolk firm, a court heard.

Andrew May, 44, who worked for King's Lynn based SealSkinz, created false invoices from suppliers and arranged payments to his personal Barclaycard account to fund his gambling addiction, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Richard Kelly, prosecuting, said May first stole cash while working as finance and IT manager at the company, which makes outdoor clothing, by switching money to his personal account. Mr Kelly said when May moved to head of supply at the company he carried on taking cash through false invoices.

The court heard nearly all the money was spent on gambling sites with one online site alone getting payments of £461,000. Mr Kelly said the total amounted to more than  £1,336,000.

In an impact statement, SealSkinz said May's fraud led to cost cutting and redundancies at the firm, which employed 74 staff at the time. It also meant investors had to provide extra funding for the company.

May of Philip Nurse Road, Dersingham, admitted fraud by false representation between February 1, 2015 and July 31, 2019 and was jailed four years.

John Farmer, defending, said May had been assessed as having a mental disorder over his gambling addiction and said it was a shame May was allowed to spend the amount he had on online gambling sites, without any checks.

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"The fact of the matter is that May stole in order to fund betting on these sites. There was no trigger to ask where on earth can someone get hold of so much money?"

He said May had now sought help and also offered assistance in trying to recover some of the money.

Sentencing May, Judge Anthony Bate said it was a sad and salutary illustration about gambling addiction and accepted May had a pathological gambling disorder.

He said May had been a trusted and valued manager when he stole the £1.3m and said: "Most of that money can be traced through the accounts to online gambling sites."

For help with gambling addiction contact National Gambling helpline on 0808 8020 133.

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