Ar­rest war­rant for miss­ing fraud­ster

Court told bo­gus ac­coun­tant could not be found for sen­tenc­ing hear­ing

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - by Tom Her­bert tom.her­bert@trin­i­tymir­ Twit­ter: @TRher­bert

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’.

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