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Stratford firm's finance manager paid £16k into his own bank accounts

A FINANCE manager authorised more than £16,000 of fraudulent payments into his own accounts in just five weeks.

Jason Cherrington, 37, had been working for Active Nation UK Ltd, which is based at Hatton Rock Business Park, about three miles outside Stratford, when he made 12 fraudulent payments.

At Warwick Crown Court, Cherrington pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of a position of trust and was sentenced to 20 months in prison, suspended for two years. He was also given a drug rehabilitation and a rehabilitation activity order.

Prosecutor Raj Punia said Cherrington was employed by Active Nation, which operates sports and fitness facilities across the country, in April 2019, but was dismissed in September that year because he had failed his probationary period.

However, it was only after he had left the company that the fraud was discovered. The person who took over the finance role noticed an unusual payment reference for £2,472. A check was then carried out on Cherrington’s bank account which had a credit that matched the payment.

An investigation uncovered that between August and September 2019, Cherrington had put through 12 bogus payments totalling £18,637. Eleven were made into two of his own accounts while the twelfth payment, for £2,423, was paid to a friend who was to transfer it to Cherrington.

The court was told that Cherrington, of Frederick Neal Avenue, Eastern Green, Coventry, said that in 2019 he had been gambling and drinking more than he had ever done and had debt issues.

William Douglas-Jones, defending, said Cherrington’s previous conviction for drink-driving was “indicative of his alcohol issues,” and at the time he was gambling to try to tackle his debt.

He added that Cherrington now had a new job, but had not told the employer about the case, which he planned to do with the hope of keeping the role.

Mr Douglas-Jones added that although there was no formal application for compensation, Cherrington had indicated that he could afford to pay £400 a month.

Cherrington was also given an 8pm-6am curfew for two months and ordered to pay £340 costs.

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