Chartered accountant TV executive jailed for £220k fraud

Called to account

A chartered accountant and executive with the television company behind The X Factor and American Idol was jailed for three years and four months today (Friday) for defrauding his former bosses of over £224,000 to pay off two holiday homes in Portugal

Ian Ousey, 51, who lives in a £1.9m detached six-bedroom house in Ascot was the chief financial officer (CFO) of FreemantleMedia Group (FMG) - which also produces Take Me Out and Grand Designs.

Father-of-two Ousey left the company in March and paid back the money as part of a £1.4m legal settlement, which included his former employer’s expenses.

It is said large amounts were paid to a holiday home developer in Portugal and to cover credit cards, vehicles, mobile phones, courier payments and all-expenses luxury trips to Brazil and Australia.

Judge Peter Clarke QC told him: ‘I have to sentence a chartered accountant of no previous convictions, who has pleaded guilty to the misappropriation of over £220,000 by way of wholly bogus invoices to the company of which he was the chief financial officer.

‘He's done, quite probably, irreparable damage to his career and he's likely to lose his position as a chartered accountant.’

Ousey pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position between 30 October 2008 and 30 November 2012 while occupying the position of CFO at FMG he abused that position to make a gain, namely £224,754.

He used his pension to repay the company, plus a £140,000 bonus due to him and there is no equity in the Portuguese properties.

The fraud was discovered in April 2012 by Freemantle's group financial director Mark Riddlestone.

The criminal investigation revolved around eleven invoices Ousey created and a company he formed, Broadcast Research Consultants, which FMG paid, believing it was money owed to the legitimate Broadcast Research Ltd.

Ousey's lawyer Samuel Parish said: ‘One can't imagine how a man can fall from such as height to where he is now. His house will have to be sold and we don't know if his marriage will survive.’

The false invoice offence began after a holiday Ousey enjoyed with his wife when they decided to buy two holiday homes and missed a repayment.

‘He had to pay for the development in instalments. There was a hiccup and they could not pay and everything had to be paid up or it would have been forfeited,’ added Parish.

Ousey joined music company Audio Network - which specialises in music for film, television and video - in April and he has previously worked for Price Waterhouse Coopers, RTL group, Pearson Television and was based in Monaco with Grundy Worldwide.

He has since left Audio Network ‘by mutual consent’.

Ousey trained at a Big Four firm originally and is a member of the ICAEW.

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