‘HE NEARLY RUINED US’
How this ‘trusted worker’ used eBay to steal almost £40,000 from the couple who gave him a job:
THE owner of a small family business says she wasn’t sure whether the firm would survive after an employee who they trusted “implicitly” stole nearly £40,000 to fund his gambling addiction.
David Clark, of Foundry Road in Abersychan, Pontypool, siphoned off profits totalling £39,688.29 from GW Interiors in Treforest over a period of two years.
The 30-year-old, who was employed at the family run kitchen and bathroom supplier from 2007 to 2014, was sentenced to 18 months in prison at Cardiff Crown Court on Friday.
Following the sentencing, Linda Watson, 64, who owns GW Interiors with her husband Gareth, 66, spoke about how Clark’s actions left his colleagues feeling betrayed, how they weren’t sure whether the business could survive and how they had even made plans for Clark to take over Linda’s part of the business following her retirement.
“We trusted him implicitly to do the job and we became quite friendly with him,” Linda, of Treharris, said.
“His colleagues felt betrayed but also they felt, like we all did, a bit stupid that they allowed it to happen.”
She added: “We weren’t sure whether we were going to survive it, but we decided we were going to fight it all the way.”
The court heard Clark had helped Linda and Gareth develop their online presence by helping them set up an eBay account.
Money from eBay sales would initially be paid into Clark’s personal PayPal account. He was supposed to transfer that cash into the company account but the court heard he started making “secret sales” and pocketing the profits.
Prosecutor Matthew Roberts said he did not log all the sales on the company system so no-one else knew they were being made.
Prosecutors said Clark was an “avid gambler” who always had a Sky Bet tab open on his computer – something Linda said she hadn’t been aware of.
She said she only became aware of the deception after he left the company.
“The first time I became aware of it was when a customer complained about a faulty product and we couldn’t find him on the system at all,” she said.
“That’s when we started investigating what had been going on. It was devastating because we had no idea how long he had been doing it for.”
Speaking about Clark’s employment, Linda said: “He was a really good worker in the beginning.”
She added: “It was only towards the end that we realised something wasn’t right.”
Speaking about the plans for Clark to take over her part of the business after her retirement, she said: “The opportunities were there for him but he threw it all away.”
Clark initially denied theft but changed his plea before his trial was due to start.
Jonathan Rees, defending, said his client had no previous convictions.
He argued the offending was not sophisticated, adding: “He succumbed to temptation.”
The defence barrister told the court the offending was out of character and explained his client had sought counselling for his gambling addiction.
There will be a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
David Clark has been jailed for stealing almost £40,000 from his employer GW Interiors
GW Interiors is based at The Taff Business Centre in Treforest