Former Parklands Audi salesman admits part in £37.5K swindle
AUDI car salesman Gary Smith has avoided prison despite helping to swindle £37,500 from his bosses.
The 42-year-old admitted defrauding Parklands in Gloucester out of the cash with the dealership manager Craig Wellings.
Gloucester Crown Court heard on Friday that Smith had not financially benefited from the money, but had come under pressure from his co-defendant to do it.
Prosecutor Edward Hetherington said the pair had created 38 false cashback transactions on sold cars, but put through all the money into one account that belonged to Wellings. Financial investigators could not find any evidence Smith benefited from the fraud, despite Wellings' claim they had planned to share it.
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Mr Hetherington said: "Mr Smith when arrested was immediately compliant with police.
"He gave full admissions that he played a part – he had altered documents on the instruction of Mr Wellings, but received no financial gain from it.
"He had been pressurised and influenced by him who threatened to dismiss him from his work."
The court heard the fraud was discovered by auditors who were brought in to the dealership after profits did not seem what they should be.
Defending, Jon Holmes said sales manager Smith was a good man, who had taken part in the Great North Run the previous weekend and had an appendicitis operation on Monday, but still turned up to face court. He was allowed to stand through the sentencing because of his illness.
He said: "He knows prison would be fairly dramatic and very devastating for him.
"He was not the instigator of this and he received no benefit for it."
Judge William Hart said: "You have pleaded guilty on the basis that he drew you into it. He could not have done it without your assistance and he got you to play your part by threats of both a physical nature and about your employment.
"Despite being as cynical as I need to be, I am satisfied that what you are saying and how you got into this, is the truth. You describe yourself as someone that was vulnerable and weak at the time."
The court heard Smith, of Dorothy Crescent, Worcester, had managed to find himself another job and his employer was aware of the proceedings.
He was sentenced to 12 months prison, suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 180 hours unpaid work.
Wellings, 44, of Church Lane in Worcester, will be sentenced at Gloucester Crown Court at a later date.