Trusted teenager stole £33k from firm who gave him 'great start in life'
A teenager, who stole more than £30,000 in less than four months from the family-run firm who gave him a ‘great start in life,’ has been spared jail.
Todd Brindle was taken on as an apprentice in the credit control department of A.F. Blakemore & Son Ltd at its Willenhall head office in August 2015.
The 19-year-old became a Treasury Clerk with responsibility for ordering petty cash for other departments from the cash and carry section of the company.
Details of each transaction were meant to be supported by a document approved by two signatories and entered into a ledger but an audit conducted last year discovered the books did not balance, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.
Brindle was asked to make inquiries into the discrepancy and days later admitted to a boss that he had stolen the money.
He maintained it had happened six times with a total of £6,300 involved, revealed Miss Joanne Barker, prosecuting.
The defendant was sacked and asked to repay as much of the cash as possible.
He quickly transferred £600 to the company but then rang to say he would not be making any further repayment.
An investigation disclosed Brindle pocketed £33,344 from 31 false petty cash transactions made by him between July 12 and November 2 last year.
He even collected money on a day he had reported sick.
Some bogus transactions had been innocently counter signed by colleagues who trusted him while he forged the second signature on the remainder, continued Miss Barker who said he also doctored e-mails and always collected the money himself.
Brindle claimed to have squandered the cash gambling and taking drugs, the court was told.
His lawyer, Mr Simon Williams, conceded: “This was a company that gave him a start. He threw it all away.
"He made a series of silly mistakes and his character is now in shreds."
Brindle, from Wood End Road, Wednesfield and now working as a driver’s mate, admitted fraud by abuse of position and was given 16 months custody suspended for two years with a three-month night time curfew and 180 hours unpaid work.
Judge James Burbidge QC told him: “You were given a great start in life and a significant degree of trust which you abused but I am able to suspended the sentence because of your youth and matters expressed in letters from your mother and father.”
The judge said he wanted the company to get as much of its missing money back as possible and a Proceeds of Crime hearing may follow later this year.
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