A Suffolk-based accountant who had several celebrities on his books has been jailed for 32 months after admitting a £150,000 fraud from clients’ accounts
Ipswich crown court heard that Edward Lewis took money from seven clients of his business, Spiro Bentley, over a period of three-and-a-half years, in a bid to keep the firm afloat.
The court was told Lewis had used the money to pay company debts and had falsified records to cover his tracks. His lawyer said the accountant had ‘robbed Peter to pay Paul’ after getting into financial difficulties and having his home repossessed.
The offences came to light after Spiro Bentley went into liquidation and clients complained that money was missing from their accounts. Among those defrauded were actress Jodie Whittaker, the star of the television series Broadchurch, actor Kris Marshall from television’s Death in Paradise, disc jockey Geoff Lloyd, and Comic Strip director Peter Richardson.
Lewis pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to seven charges of fraud by abuse of position between January 2010 and June 2013 while he was the sole director of Spiro Bentley.
As well as the jail sentence, the judge made a nominal confiscation order of £1 under the Proceeds of Crime Act after hearing that Lewis has no assets. He had repaid more than £100,000 before criminal proceedings started.