Saturday, 10 January 2015

Financial Controller Nicked £1.3M From Estate Agency

Co. HQ: Hurford Salvi Carr
The trusted financial controller of a firm of estate agents, who looted £1.3m from under the noses of her bosses, has been locked-up by a judge who is demanding to know what she spent the money on.

Karen Chin, 45, of North Hill, Highgate was employed by Hurford Salvi Carr (HSC) at their HQ in Britton Street, Clerkenwell, where she diverted clients' funds into multiple bank and credit card accounts she controlled.

Her former employers claim much of the money has been blown on high-living, luxury goods and holidays, including the rental of a private plane and a £35,000 family vacation to Mauritius.

"You are plainly going to prison and the only question is for how long," Blackfriars Crown Court judge David Richardson told the first-time offender yesterday. "I want to know what you have done with the money and if it is true you have been shifting assets."

Remanding her in custody until sentencing on February 6 the judge added: "I have no intention of leaving you outside prison where you may cause further mischief in relation to your assets."

Chin pleaded guilty to nine counts of fraud by abuse of a position of trust between February 19, 2008 and February 19, 2013 and asked for three offences under the Theft Act committed before 2008 to be taken into consideration.

Prosecutor Mr. David Markham told the court Chin was employed as a four days per week financial controller on a £38,000 a year salary and had been with the company since 1999 until she was sacked on June 25, 2013.

Chin made a total of 304 money transfers into her own accounts between 2008 and 2013.

"She was trusted with the company chequebook and all the online payments, but an audit report revealed she had been dishonestly syphoning off client account funds into her own accounts.

"She was authorised to make payments and transfers and was a co-signatory with the directors of the company."

When the huge shortfall was discovered Chin's email history was demanded by her bosses.

"She produced three emails that appeared to be doctored by cutting and pasting and inserting fake text. She falsified them to cover the theft of funds."

On June 28, 2013 the High Court froze Chin's assets, including her £1.5m family home, but only £12,000 has been recovered and a £50,000 cheque she wrote to her former employers bounced.

HSC say Chin ignored two High Court warrants to appear, moved money to secret accounts and has shown no remorse.

Chin was eventually questioned about the fraud. "She said she did not know why she did it and it was not as if she needed the money and said she would pay it back," added Mr. Markham.

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