£170k brokerage scam flaunted on Facebook

£170k brokerage scam flaunted on Facebook


An accountant who crippled a brokerage after stealing thousands of pounds to fund his lavish lifestyle, and then boasted about his actions on a social networking site has been jailed.  

The accountant, who was sentenced to three years and five months in prison, led an extravagant lifestyle after stealing from his employer and posting photographs on Facebook with the caption ‘because we deserve it’.

Stephen Siddell, 28, was the ‘in-house’ accountant for Merseyside-based Property and Land Information Ltd (PALI), a firm which acts as an information service as well as an intermediary.

The trusted accountant was responsible for managing payments to and from clients, but Siddell cashed the invoices into his own bank account instead, stealing from the firm just three weeks after becoming an employee.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how Siddell swindled £166,710, paying the invoices into his own bank account and, once suspicion arose, he began depositing into his wife’s bank account as well.

The Wirral Globe has revealed that Siddell only earned £15,000 per annum, yet deposited £86,614 into his wife’s bank account in just five months.

The Wirral Globe reported that Judge Nigel Gilmour QC told the pair: “I have read your Facebook entries that cover the period while you were enjoying the fruits of your criminal behaviour.

“They make deeply unattractive reading, boasting of the luxury on holiday in Cyprus.”

He told Louise Siddell, from Wallasey: “I have no doubt at all that you demonstrated to all and sundry, including your husband, that you liked the new spending power you had.

“Your husband was keen to satisfy your love for material goods.”

The couple bought jewellery, expensive furniture and designer clothing, in addition to using the stolen cash to fund holidays and even to pay for Louise Siddell’s breast enhancement. The fraudulent pair stored all their luxury purchases in a garage in Wirral.

Suspicion arose when the bank noticed that irregularly large sums of cash were flowing through Siddell’s account, despite a block being imposed on his account, Siddell was able to continue his dishonest activities. After producing a fraudulent claim he was earning ‘uncapped commission’ to justify the large sums of cash, the block was overturned.

Siddell also made a fraudulent loan application for £80,000, fabricating that his earnings were £135,000 a year.

Nick Small Snr, Director of PALI, told the Wirral Globe: “Stephen and his wife were boasting of their ‘new found wealth’ on Facebook, posting photographs of themselves lying beside infinity pools at their six-bedroom villa, nights at the Hard Days night hotel and the Lowry Hotel.

“One thing that still haunts me is when Louise posted ‘because we’re worth it’ when boasting about a luxury they had bought. This phrase makes me so angry.

“His stealing had brought the company to its knees and forced redundancy of two thirds of his colleagues.”

John Ballam, defending,said that Siddell had co-operated with the police but admitted in an interview “it just got completely out of hand. I wish I had never started in the first place.”

Company bosses discovered ‘drawers full of unpaid invoices and the firm’s debts almost matched the amount stolen by Siddell’.

The scam which has thrown the firm in near financial ruin has disgusted the director especially, who had to lay-off two thirds of his workforce, and has had to plough this retirement money into the company to keep it afloat.

Siddell pleaded guilty in at Liverpool Crown Court to 63 cases of theft and three fraud offences.

Louise Siddell pleaded guilty to money laundering and was jailed for six months, receiving a shortened jail term due to her being pregnant.

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