The former General Manager of an Unxbridge company has been found guilty of fraud and sentenced to 42months imprisonment.
James Presswell, 60 (29.01.58) of Guildford Road, Bisley, Woking, Surrey was charged in September 2017 with six counts of fraud. Following a five week trial at Isleworth Crown Court, he was found guilty of all six counts and sentenced on Monday, 14 May.
The court heard that between January 2007 and January 2014 Presswell worked as General Manager for 'Wheelmasters' in Uxbridge and dishonestly appropriated money from the company.
He had siphoned various amounts of money from company accounts over the years including £10,000 cash from the company director’s loan account in October 2008. Further analysis of the accounts between April 2007 and September 2013 identified discrepancies to the value of £132,350. He was found guilty of taking money from the company accounts.
In 2012, Presswell increased his salary to £80,400 and in 2013 to £90,000. Over the period, Presswell had increased his wages by £35,567 and awarded cash bonuses at Christmas time to him and his staff without the owner’s consent or knowledge. It is believed the cash came from the Directors Loan Account and cash sales. He was found guilty of awarding unauthorised pay increases and taking money from company accounts by concealing, disguising and transferring criminal property.
Presswell used company credit cards for personal expenditure and with the use of the company Paypal account, was able to purchase personal goods throughout the period to the value of approximately £15,000. Items like 5 Mont Blanc pens, a diamond ring for £2,500, gates for his house for £1000, grocery shopping were amongst other personal items. He was found guilty of fraud on the company credit card and fraud on the company Paypal account.
In November 2010 he leased a company car for his wife to use. Presswell set up monthly installments of £330.94 to be paid through the company to the lease providers. When the company became aware of the transaction they returned the car and had to pay a further £3805.76 penalty for the early cancellation of the lease agreement. He was found guilty of fraud by abuse of his position.
Detective Constable Stephen Rothwell from Hillingdon CID said: “This complex investigation centered around a sophisticated framework set up by Presswell to embezzle cash and property from the company he worked for without the owner’s knowledge.
“The owner, at the time, was unaware of his activity and further supplemented his income with bonuses of £12,500 in 2012 and £15,000 in 2013.
“I hope the three and half year sentence handed down will serve as a deterrent for anyone considering or intending to steal from their employer”.