By Nigel Slater 12/07 Updated: 12/07 12:38
THE OWNER of a Vale firm has said a former employee fully deserves his two and half years prison sentence after stealing almost £200,000 from the company.
Ian Beale, who was a director for Evenproducts, was jailed on Friday (July 6) at Gloucester Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to fraud offences for falsely taking a total of £190,942 from the firm and £153,110 from HM Revenue and Customs - a total of more than £344,000.
The 57-year-old worked at the Blaneys Lane firm for more than 30 years and became financial director with the sole responsibility for the company's accounts which included submitting VAT returns and making payments to suppliers.
Officers said Beale decided to line his own pockets by submitting false invoice payments and fake VAT input tax returns on supplies imported by the firm which manufactures water storage equipment to provide relief after natural disasters.
Beale used the proceeds to buy nine racehorses and fund the stables where they were trained by a family member.
Steve Robertshaw, Evenproducts owner and managing director, said everyone at the firm was shell shocked by the revelation a long standing employee had stolen such huge sums of money.
"Beale had been employed for over 30 years, rising to the position of Financial Director, where honesty, integrity and above all trust are a pre-requisite," he said.
"He abused that position of trust and fully deserves the custodial sentence of two and a half years that the court decided was appropriate.
“We have co-operated whole heartedly and completely with both the police and HMRC to uncover what was a clever and long-term deceit.
"There is no suggestion whatsoever that the company or indeed anybody else at Evenproducts was part of this fraud, which was solely down to the greed of one individual.
"The company has recovered from serious setbacks in the past including flooding in 2007 and the recession year in 2009 and we will recover strongly from this."
Adrian Farley, assistant director of the investigation for HM Revenue and Customs, said Beale was ruthless in his campaign to steal from his employer and the taxpayer.
"He gained the company's trust over a number of years and was promoted to director level but this did not satisfy him or provide any sense of loyalty," Mr Farley said.
"He continued to falsify business records for his own financial benefit.
"The prison sentence handed out by the courts today reinforces that crime does not pay as well as the detrimental impact on his family, friends and the local community."
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