A man employed as a tax adviser by an accountancy firm for three decades has been jailed for defrauding his employer and clients out of almost £250,000 to pay for his gambling habit
Timothy Bash was sentenced to three years in prison at Norwich Crown Court after pleading guilty to fraud by abuse of position at an earlier hearing.
The court heard how Bash had been employed by the accountancy firm Lovewell Blake for 30 years and was responsible for offering tax advice and completing tax returns for approximately 230 clients.
In March 2017 Lovewell Blake were contacted by the family of a recently deceased client claiming they had found a letter from Bash requesting a £4,500 loan. Further enquiries established that Bash had not recorded this arrangement with his employer and had only paid back £500.
Two days later Bash requested a meeting with his managers and disclosed that he had a gambling addiction and that he had been taking money from clients over a number of years. This resulted in the management at Lovewell Blake calling the police and Bash was arrested.
Norfolk Constabulary said its investigation into the fraud was a lengthy process and it was established that Bash had committed fraud against a number of clients, as well as his employer.
Bash, on visiting clients, used a variety of different methods to obtain fraudulent cheques which he then altered the wording on, to later pay them into his own account.
Officers discovered the total amount Bash stole from Lovewell Blake and its clients was £247,584 between October 2010 and March 2017.
DC Mike Blowers of Norfolk Constabulary said: ‘This was a complex investigation where Bash used his position to not only exploit his clients but he also betrayed the firm which had employed him for 30 years.
‘In many of these cases Bash had been seeing his clients for many years, forming a close acquaintance and gaining their trust. It is understandable that they feel shocked and devastated by his level of deceit and I would like to thank all those involved, in particular Lovewell Blake, for supporting this investigation.’
A spokesperson for Lovewell Blake said: ‘We are glad the matter has reached its conclusion and justice has been done. To succeed and function efficiently any organisation has to put faith and trust in members of staff. However, on this unfortunate occasion that has been misplaced by one person acting alone in a cunning and calculating way.
‘Tim Bash worked in a highly specialised part of the firm mainly handling personal tax matters for individuals. We have been in correspondence with those individuals affected and will continue to take appropriate steps in this regard.’