Arrest warrant for missing fraudster
Court told bogus accountant could not be found for sentencing hearing
A WARRANT has been issued for the arrest of a bogus accountant after he failed to turn up to his sentencing hearing.
Fraudster Harvey Pearce, 49, was found guilty of a raft of fraud and theft charges at Aylesbury Crown Court on May 17, and was due to be sentenced on Tuesday at Amersham Crown Court.
But Pearce, of Willow End, Didcot, Oxfordshire, skipped bail and judge Justin Cole has issued a warrant for his arrest.
Pearce masqueraded as an accountant in 2010 to bag himself a job at the National Film and Television School (NFTS) in Beaconsfield.
He kept his finance manager job for three years but was released from employment in September 2013 after concerns were raised about his work.
An internal investigation carried out afterwards revealed that Pearce had swindled thousands of pounds from the NFTS.
Pearce had fraudulently paid himself expenses totalling almost £15k, had used his work credit card to pay for personal items and union membership, had purchased two iPads on the school’s account, had overpaid himself more than £4k and not deducted pension contributions from his salary.
The conman then applied for a job as a finance manager at Diamond Light Source, in Didcot, after again claiming to be a qualified accountant, and worked there from June 2014 until the time of his arrest in September 2014.
Pearce pleaded guilty to earning almost £155k after obtaining both jobs by false representation and to obtaining more than £24k from the NFTS by fraud and theft. He was convicted of five counts of fraud by abuse of position, two counts of fraud by false representation and one count of theft by employee.
Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Cole said: “They would never had employed him had they known he wasn’t a qualified accountant.”
John Lamb, defending, said Pearce could not be reached: “We lost contact with him on May 25 – he’s not here.”
Mr Lamb argued that Pearce’s phone would ring out to an ‘international dialling tone’ when people tried to contact him, and he added: “The phone we’re phoning is not contacting at all.”
Mr Lamb said Pearce should not be sentenced in his absence: “In those circumstances it would be better for him to be here for that hearing,” and he argued that Pearce is someone ‘that has suffered from depression’.