A Lincolnshire accountant who stole £240,000 from a local business to fund his lavish lifestyle has been jailed for three years.
Richard Sullivan, who ran his own accountancy and taxation business, took the money while handling the financial affairs of Sedge Homes and an associated company Sedge Estate Agents.
Lincoln Crown Court heard that Sullivan was paid a monthly fee for his duties which included paying suppliers, settling tax bills and producing end of year accounts. However, between 2008 and 2012 he made unauthorised payments to his own firm and also failed to pay bills owed by the two companies.
The thefts came to light in October 2012 when the company became concerned about the number of final reminders it was receiving for unpaid bills, and checks uncovered the unauthorised payments.
Sullivan, who was a long standing friend of the head of Sedge Homes, initially said £30,000 was involved, but subsequently confessed he had taken a much larger amount.
In court Sullivan, admitted theft of £240,000 between October 2008 and October 2012. Describing his actions as ‘a very serious breach of trust’, the judge handed down a custodial sentence.
After the hearing DS Lance Morgan, the senior investigating officer in the case, said: ‘Richard Sullivan was in a fortunate and privileged position in his private life but despite this he chose to masquerade as a wealthy and successful businessman, living a lavish lifestyle that was extravagant and beyond his means.
‘He preyed on his unsuspecting clients and practised his criminal deception for a period of at least four years. In doing so committed the ultimate betrayal, stealing over a quarter of a million pounds from his clients and close friends.’