The trusted finance manager of a Louth care company has avoided an immediate prison sentence after defrauding his employer out of thousands of pounds using a simple scam.
Carl Baldock, who worked for Manby-based Clarriots Homecare Ltd, sent invoices to customers telling them to pay the bill to his own personal bank account instead of the company account.
Baldock, 26, of Enfield Avenue in New Waltham, then produced a second invoice for the company books - showing the customers had been asked to pay direct to the company. In total he pocketed more than £40,000 using the scam.
Andrew Scott, prosecuting, said: “The defendant was employed as the finance manager of Clarriots Homecare Ltd which provided care for people in their own homes.
“The defendant was taken on as an apprentice in 2012 and worked his way up to become finance manager. He was responsible for the invoicing of customers and the collection of payments from those customers.”
Baldock’s fraud came to light after a customer was asked for an outstanding payment and told a member of staff that not only had the money been paid but a remittance advice had been sent by the firm.
The owner, James Carratt, checked the payment and discovered that the account the money had gone into was the same account into which Baldock’s wages were being paid.
Mr Scott said: “A total of 27 bogus invoices were issued by the defendant to 10 different customers for a total of £57,221.
“Of that amount £42,662 was actually paid into his bank account.
“Some of the invoices had not been paid by the customer before the fraud was detected.”
The company later went out of business.
When the thefts were discovered, Baldock paid most of the money back as he had simply stashed it away in his bank account rather than spend it. The court was told he had also paid the legal fees incurred by Mr Carratt relating to the fraud.
Mr Scott told the court: “Mr Carratt believes that the actions of the defendant were the primary reason for the downfall of his company.
“That is not the position held by the liquidators. This is a company that owed HMRC over £200,000.”
At Lincoln Crown Court, Baldock admitted a charge of fraud by false representation over the period between 28 February 2017 and 21 February 2018.
He was given an 18 month jail sentence suspended for two years with 260 hours of unpaid work.
He was also given a three month night-time curfew.
Judge John Pini QC, passing sentence, described the case as ‘unique’ and said that Baldock had avoided an immediate jail sentence only because of the ‘wholly exceptional circumstances’ of the case.
The judge said: “The evidence shows that unlike everyone else who commits these sort of offences for their own personal gain you stockpiled virtually all of this money. You didn’t spend it at all.
“Before the police had even started their investigation you had paid back £40,000.”
Neil Sands, in mitigation, said Baldock had no previous convictions and urged that any prison sentence should be suspended.
Mr Sands said: “This is a man who has co-operated with the authorities and done everything to put matters right.”
Mr Sands said that Baldock had become disgruntled with his job and decided to show how lax the company’s systems were.