Man stole from fa­ther’s company

Surrey Herald/News - - FRONT PAGE -

A NEW Haw busi­ness­man has been sentenced to seven years for steal­ing more than £2 mil­lion from his fa­ther’s company. Robert Austin, 55, of Wood­ham Lane, was con­victed on Fri­day fol­low­ing a four-week trial at Brighton Crown Court on seven charges of theft and false ac­count­ing. The court was told that Austin was a di­rec­tor of a company within the Mack- in­tosh and Part­ners group, a tim­ber firm owned by his fa­ther, with bases in Brighton and in Pot­ters Bar, Hert­ford­shire. Speak­ing after the case, De­tec­tive Con­sta­ble Dan Clark of the Sus­sex Po­lice Ma­jor Fraud Unit, said: “Austin stole £2.6 mil­lion from the group of com­pa­nies be­tween 2002 and 2008, fal­si­fy­ing records re­quired for ac­count­ing pur­poses in or­der to do so.” The company went into ad­min­is­tra­tion in 2008 and the miss­ing money was re­ported to the po­lice three years later fol­low­ing an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The firm had gone into liq­ui­da­tion as a di­rect re­sult of the losses. The trial was told it was an oth­er­wise prof­itable company that had traded suc­cess­fully for 70 years. Em­ploy­ees and direc­tors lost their jobs. Sev­eral gave ev­i­dence at the trial. DC Clark added: “Austin ap­pears to have sim­ply worked him­self into a po­si­tion whereby he was in fi­nan­cial con­trol. “His ac­tions, driven by greed, had a wide ef­fect on the lives of many peo­ple. “I only hope that those af­fected by him can now find some clo­sure.”

Robert Austin.

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