An executive with the television company behind The X Factor and American Idol pleaded guilty today to defrauding his former bosses of over £224,000 to pay off two holiday homes in Portugal.
Ian Ousey, 51, who lives in a £1.9m detached six-bedroom house in Prince Consort Drive, Ascot, Berkshire was the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of FreemantleMedia Group (FMG) - which also produces Take Me Out and Grand Designs.
Ousey, a qualified chartered accountant, left the company in March and paid back the money as part of a £1.4m legal settlement, which included his former employers expenses.
It is said large amounts were paid to a holiday home developer in Portugal and to cover credit cards, vehicles, mobile phones and courier payments.
He worked at the company's HQ at 1 Stephen Street, near Tottenham Court Road and was interviewed by officers at nearby Holborn Police Station.
He pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position between October 30, 2008 and November 30,2012 in that while occupying the position of CFO in which he was expected to safeguard or not act against the financial interests of FMG he abused that position to make a gain, namely £224,754.
Prosecutor Mr. Edward Aydin told Highbury Corner Magistrates Court: "Mr. Ousey worked there for some twenty-three years, for that firm and its predecessor as the Chief Financial Officer for the Freemantle group of companies, a worldwide television production company, which produces a number of shows worldwide.
"He admitted fraudulent activity when confronted by his superiors immediately."
Suspicious transactions, which also involved the company credit card as well as bogus invoices were discovered in April, 2012 by Freemantle's Group Financial Director (GFD) Mr. Mark Riddlestone.
"The GFD was aware Mr. Ousey booked flights on the company credit card.
"Leading to the false invoices it was alerted that others facts became suspicious to the company."
The company credit card was also used to pay for vehicles, mobiles phones and other unauthorised expenses.
Ousey's lawyer Mr. Samuel Parish told the court: "This matter came to light as a result of Mr. Ousey making a statement to his employers and he paid back every penny, including investigation costs getting on for one million pounds.
"He's a man with children attending paid school. his whole way of life has gone, he's had to tell his professional body and he will be struck off the roll.
"His professional and family life has come to and end."
The false invoice offence began after a holiday Ousey enjoyed with his wife when they decided to buy two holiday homes and missed a repayment.
"He had to pay for the development in instalments. There was a hiccup and they could not pay and everything had to be paid up or it would have been forfeited.
"He created the false invoices for a company that did not exist that had a similar name that supplied Freemantle. Once he started he couldn't stop.
"What he's most concerned about is the welfare of his family. He's left them in a really difficult situation."
When Freemantle paid the false invoices they money went to Ousey's bank account.
Urging the court to sentence Ousley immediately the lawyer added: "He'd like to get on with his and his family's life. He's quite young and he's going to have a difficult time ahead."
Ousey was committed to Blackfriars Crown Court on unconditional bail for sentence on a date to be fixed and Bench Chairwoman Danielle Jayes told him: "Our sentencing powers are insufficient due to the large amount."
Ousey joined music company Audio Network - which specialises in music for film, television and video - in April and he has previously worked for Price Waterhouse Coopers, the RTL group, Pearson Television and was based in Monaco with Grundy Worldwide.
He has since left Audio Network "by mutual consent."