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Financial manager and his colleague sentenced for fraud

Thursday 25th April, 2019

A financial manager and his colleague who defrauded a company out of more than £700k to support a lavish lifestyle have been jailed. Jeremy Dawes and his co-conspirator Simon Bleakley swindled an asbestos disposal firm by diverting company payments to fictitious sub-contractor accounts controlled by them.

Long standing employee Bleakley was employed by the firm as a part-time financial assistant for 15 years. Between May 2012 and December 2013 fraudulent credits totalling £45,492.76 were paid into his joint account shared with his wife.

Dawes joined the company as financial manager in January 2014 on a salary of £35,000 per year, including a company car and other benefits.

Typically, the funds stolen would be made to look like legitimate payments for the company’s sub contractor’s and paid into Bleakley’s account before half was transferred to an account controlled by Dawes.

Dawes also made fraudulent transfers direct to his own bank account and forged signatures on company cheques enabling him to pay them into his own account.

The total loss to the company from the frauds carried out amounted to £725,909.15. Bleakley gained over £275k from the fraud whilst Dawes gained over £450k.

Transactions on the account include frequent holidays, leisure activities, designer clothing, and a brand new Mercedes.

Jeremy Dawes was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud, fraud by abuse of position and money laundering. Simon Bleakley was sentenced to three years and three months in prison. Patricia Bleakley was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years and 120 hours of unpaid work, after pleading guilty to money laundering.

Detective Constable Tim Hanson from GMP’s Specialist Fraud Investigation Team, said: “Their arrogance knew know bounds; time after time they diverted huge amounts of cash to their accounts, often leaving the company in financial crisis and struggling to pay staff wages. Despite this they continued to steal from the company so they could maintain their lavish lifestyle."