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Accountant defrauded long-time friend £5m to support a lavish lifestyle

Thursday 23rd March, 2017

An accountant from Cambridgeshire has been sentenced to eight years imprisonment for defrauding three companies of more than £5 million to fund a luxury lifestyle.

He defrauded CAMBR Limited, Cedarcoast Limited and Fenstead Limited when he oversaw the companies' UK interests. The companies were owned by his long-time friend, spanning 25 years Mr Skolnick who moved to the US. Between 25 January 2005 and 19 July 2011 he processed unauthorised payments by writing out cheques and transferring funds from the company accounts to his own personal account or to third parties for personal items and services.

The money was used to fund a luxury lifestyle far beyond his means, it was used to build his own house, financial support for his accountancy practice, renovations to a hotel and general cash to support him. Mr Skolnick had made several requests for funds to be transferred from one of the company’s UK accounts into an account in the US. The funds were never transferred.

The City of London Police worked with banks and businesses that had contact with him to piece together the unauthorised cheque payments totalling £4,130,808 and additional transfers from accounts totalling £949,893.

Mr Skolnick died in April 2013 having tried to recover the money amicably, the fraud was reported on 11 July 2014 by Mr Skolnick’s UK legal representatives.

Detective Sergeant Lee Nelson said: “Tully lied to his friend of 25 years to cover up the sheer scale of his crimes. He only admitted his guilt when faced with no alternative."

“This was a crime driven by greed in which Tully took advantage of his friendship with Mr Skolnick and his position of trust as an accountant. We hope that today’s sentence serves as a warning to those who abuse their positions to commit fraud. This is justice that sadly Mr Skolnick will never know.”

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