Diss man and former Thetford MD jailed for 32 months
A trusted director of a Norfolk waste business who admitted systematically stealing from the company was jailed for 32 months yesterday.
Paul Betts, of Church Lane, Hepworth, near Diss, has agreed to pay at least �110,000 in compensation to his former employer, Enviro-Waste in Thetford, which had to make almost a quarter of its workforce redundant because of his actions.
Yesterday the former managing director, who admitted four counts of fraud by abuse of trust and four of theft, was told he would serve half of a 32-month jail sentence.
Judge Alastair Darroch told him: 'Over a long period of very many months you carried out a number of frauds, the sole motive being greed.'
Betts worked as a manager and a director of Thetford-based Enviro-Waste, and was also allowed to run his own business, PB Waste Management, providing there was no conflict of interests with his employer, Norwich Crown Court was told.
But the 40-year-old used it as an opportunity to steal from the company, fraudulently invoicing them for more than �20,000 worth of building work which was carried out at his home in Diss.
He also syphoned off �32,791 in payments which should have gone to Enviro-Waste for spreading paper sludge.
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More money was stolen by charging a fraudulent consultancy fee, syphoning money from a company involved in waste food removal, and selling off equipment belonging to Enviro-Waste.
William Carter, prosecuting, said: 'Betts was acting dishonestly. His position required him to safeguard his employers' interests and he was doing the opposite.'
He said the then-owner was forced to sell the business at a much lower price than he felt he would have got and since then the company had continued under new management.
Richard Wood, representing Betts, said his client was an 'energetic' businessman who had 'regrettably and rather seriously lost his way'.
He added: 'He's a family man. He would find a period of imprisonment a very difficult process indeed.'
Speaking after the case, the new managing director of Enviro-Waste said the business had been left having to rebuild its reputation and make the difficult decision to let go 10 of its 47 staff.
Sean O'Connell, who was put in place in November 2010 following Betts' suspension, said Betts' fraud had had a 'substantial impact'.
He added: 'We want to make this the best and biggest business of its type in East Anglia and slowly and surely we're getting our reputation back.
'We have had to make a few changes but we're heading in the right direction.
'If it hadn't happened, I wouldn't be here but I don't think the company deserved it because the staff here work really hard and they didn't deserve their efforts going to line this man's pockets.
'It's nice to see the green shoots of recovery showing.'
The director is now hoping to recruit two new drivers, with the potential for five more, dependent on new contracts being won.
Speaking after the case, Roger Clark, former company director for Enviro-Waste, said: 'Paul Betts totally abused his position of trust and responsibility for solely financial reason with no regard for the consequences of his actions on the company or its employees whose jobs he put at grave risk.
'I thank the police and court for finally bringing Paul Betts to justice.'