Two men who put a South Tyneside company and its workers’ future in jeopardy after carrying out a £50,000 fraud have been ordered to pay back a combined total of just £2,751.
Edward Wallace and George Lowery both appeared before Newcastle Crown Court as investigators tried to claw the money back under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
If you borrowed that kind of cash from the bank you would pay double that in interest.Company spokesman
However, Lowery was ordered to pay back the nominal fee of £1 while Wallace was ordered to pay back £2,750.
The news has left a bitter taste for the company Millennium Conveyor Services Ltd in Jarrow.
During a previous court hearing where both men admitted fraud, the judge was told the crime had a “very serious effect” on the company financially, forcing a reduction in staff numbers and a “significant effect” on the directors who struggled to keep it going.
A spokesman for the company said: “You steal £50k from your employer and are ordered to pay back £2,750, if you borrowed it from a bank you would pay double that in interest, and they say crime does not pay.”
The court heard Wallace, 53, of Nora Street, High Barnes, Sunderland, was earning more than £40,000 per year. He ordered huge quantities of materials, which he billed to the firm, then sold it on at a cheap rate to “contacts” so he could pocket the cash.
He recruited friend and business supplier Lowery, 52, of St Oswalds Avenue, Walker, Newcastle, to help him with the con by transporting the metals.
Wallace was sentenced to 23 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with supervision, 150 hours’ unpaid work and a weekend curfew for six months.
Lowery, who admitted involvement in about £30,000-worth of the fraud, was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with supervision.