Fraudster pocketed £27,000 of Kettering firm’s cash to fund gambling habits and Italian holiday

Sam Pearce was sentenced at Northampton Crown Court for stealing over 27,000 from work.
Sam Pearce was sentenced at Northampton Crown Court for stealing over 27,000 from work.

A fraudster who stole more than £27,000 from the Kettering firm where he worked by fiddling with colleagues’ expense claims has been spared jail.

Sam Pearce, 30, of Grange Park, Northampton, was sentenced at Northampton Crown Court yesterday (April 23) after he “betrayed” his co-workers and stole tens of thousands of pounds from the company account.

The court heard how he dipped into the firm’s finances for more than a year and spent the embezzled cash on gambling, a wedding and a holiday to Rome.

Sentencing, Recorder John Butterfield QC said: “Your boss called this act a ‘significant betrayal’.

Pearce abused his role as an accounts manager at Building Services Design in Kettering to inflate colleagues’ expense claims and pocket the difference.

He continued to skim cash from the business over 18 months between March 2016 and September 2017 and sometimes funnelled the money through an old company account.

But when a colleague saw that the firm’s books did not add up, an auditor was called and Pearce was caught red-handed.

In an immediate disciplinary meeting with his boss, he admitted he had siphoned off a total of £27,713 from the business. He was fired the same day.

The judge said: “You offered to pay back £10,000 to the company and you did so - but that has to be seen in the light of in doing so you asked your employer not to get the police involved.”

Pearce was arrested shortly after and made a full admission of his crimes to the police.

At Northampton Crown Court, his defence barrister said her client felt “truly guilty” and was committed to paying back the money.

But the judge chose to spare Pearce from jail and instead handed him a 16-month suspended prison sentence.

He said: “This is is a significant opportunity to turn your back on any such behaviour for the rest of your life.”

He was also told he will be called to a proceeds of crime hearing to repay the stolen funds.