A SALES manager who stole £15,000 from his company to cope with crippling personal debt has been spared jail.
Christopher Green issued false refunds at Andrew Page car parts firm in Sunderland and pocketed the cash.
Over a period of about five to six months, you regularly were doing a series of fraudulent transactions, purporting that refunds were being made, but actually you were pocketing, on a regular basis, the money yourself.Judge Edward Bindloss
The 33-year-old confessed he had started helping himself to money after falling into mortgage arrears and credit card debts.
Prosecuting, Paul Rowland told Newcastle Crown Court: “The regional manager carried out an audit and discovered a large volume of refunds had been made which he considered to be fraudulent.
“The reason for that, was that none of the refunds contained details of the original invoice numbers against which the refunds had been sought.
“Also, they were for a value in excess of the actual value of the items which were purported to have been refunded.
“Checks were made and it was discovered the only person who authorised the refunds was the defendant.”
Green, of Hilltop View, Langley Park, County Durham, admitted theft of £15,770 between June and October last year.
He told police he had planned in the beginning to pay back what he was taking, but his finances spiralled out of control.
The court heard Green has since confessed to his family what he did and his father has paid the stolen money back to the firm.
Jamie Adams, defending, said Green is now looking at ways to handle his money problems and found new work.
Mr Adams added: “What you see is a man who is very contrite indeed and highly unlikely ever to re-offend.”
Judge Edward Bindloss sentenced Green to 16 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years.
The judge told him: “Over a period of about five to six months, you regularly were doing a series of fraudulent transactions, purporting that refunds were being made, but actually you were pocketing, on a regular basis, the money yourself.”
Judge Bindloss said he accepted Green’s behaviour was a “personal tragedy” and told him: “I am confident these courts are never going to see you again. Everyone makes one mistake in their life, let this be yours.”