Craig Gillis a trusted employee diverted money from a family business to his bank account when his gambling addiction got the better of him
Mr Gillis in five year con, almost brought the family business to its knees after he siphoned off over £117,000.
As the accounts manager for the Arrows Corporation, which is an online business that is based in Heaton who sold items that include industrial and outdoor equipment, motorcycle gear, pet cages, the company was run by husband and wife team, Andrew and Helen Martin.
The court heard that Gillis was a highly trusted employee and he had full responsibility for the finances and trading accounts of Arrows Corporation.
Unknown to the Martins he began to plunder huge sums after he allowed his gambling habit to get the better of him.
Diverting money earned from sales, he diverted the money into his personal PayPal account instead of the companies PayPal account, the blew off all the money on gambling.
The results of this fraud left the Martins in a difficut position where they had to sell their home, they were unable to take a wage themselves, and they had to lay off another employee because the business struggled to cope with these losses.
After having admitted his fraud, 28-year-old Mr.Gillis has been found guilty and jailed by the Newcastle Crown Court.
In a statement at the hearing in court Mrs Martin said that this was such a large amount of money, that they were devastated that the person they trusted had exploited their trust to such a staggering extent.
The bank manager advised them that their bank account was very close to being closed.
They could have lost their business, if they had not put every effort into keeping it going while they carried on.
Mr Martin said that he had worked with him since he was 18 years old, and that he had personally recruited him. Being totally unaware of what was going on, he said that the abuse of trust had hit him hard.
The potential for ruining them was there, and they were staggered at the scope of the thefts being over £100,000.
They have since sold their family home unable to pay the mortgage and the household bills, they have since downsized to a two bedroom cottage that they share with in-laws.
The devastating costs of this fraud has given him sleepless night. And the fact that they had to lay off a member of their staff has left them shaken.
Mr. Gillis had been employed by the Martins as their accounts manager since 2008, he had full responsibility for the management of the finances of the firm and their subsidiaries.
The fraud came to light the previous September when the Martins noticed some pieces of industrial equipment were for sale from Arrows Corporation that had payment details that were not the company’s.
The prosecutor, Stuart Graham said that this led to a more detailed review.
It was found that there 49 transactions between the period of June and September alone where the monies had been diverted for various types of equipment. And there were many hundreds of transactions over the years.
When he was confronted Gillis admitted that it was him who took the money, stating that had a gambling problem and that he had been supporting his mother.
After the police were called the investigation revealed that between the period of August 2011 to September 2015 it was found that there were 538 withdrawals from Mr. Gillis’ Paypal account and an amount of £105,362 had been withdrawn to his Barclay’s account.
Also revealed that between July 2012 and September 2015 there were transactions from his PayPal account to a Skybet online gambling website, of £21,700.
The total amount of money arising from over 1,200 items that had been siphoned off, £117,000 worth.
In addition there may have been some additional losses arising from postage and packaging and equipment that was sold and still under warranty which the Martin have to honour and also pay for any defective equipment.
Mr. Gillis, of Pinewood Avenue, Washington, plead guilty to the fraud and received a jail sentence of two years and two months.
Tony Davis, defending, said that Mr Gillis is married and had two young children, does not have ny previous convictions.
Mr Davis continued that Mr. Gillis has a gambling addition, and that there was no money available for recompense, because it was wasted on this hideous addiction.
It was also revealed that Mr Gili’s is a family man whose father is very ill with cancer with only months to live, a very tragic state of affairs all round for this young man, despite all the damage that he did to the business.