Crooked managing director Paul Ellis jailed for stealing £65k from Limen Construction on Medway City Estate in Strood
Managing director Paul Ellis has been jailed for 18 months
The managing director of a construction company has been jailed for 18 months for stealing almost £65,000.
A plea was made on behalf of Paul Ellis to impose a suspended sentence, but a judge said his criminality was so serious it had to be immediate.
Ellis, of Pear Tree Walk, Newington, near Sittingbourne, admitted seven offences of false accounting and one of fraud.
Maidstone Crown Court heard the 46-year-old father was managing director and the financial controller of Limen Construction Ltd, based on Medway City Estate in Strood.
Richard Cherrill, prosecuting, said the other three directors were responsible for operations and trusted Ellis to deal with financial matters.
It was discovered at a management meeting in February 2011 that a significant amount of cash was missing. Ellis was asked to check the figures and there was an internal investigation.
Ellis was suspended and in July that year he accepted the allegations against him and vowed to repay the money totalling £64,888.
He repaid about £33,000 the following month and he said he would re-mortgage to pay the rest, but he was unable to. He was sacked the next day.
Paul Ellis, managing director of Strood-based Limen Construction
Mr Cherrill said some of the offences related to a company credit card Ellis used for his own purposes, such as for meals and servicing his car. Others involved bogus payments.
"It is a clear breach of trust," said the prosecutor. "He had some shares which were worth very little because of what he had done to the company."
Judge Jeremy Carey said Ellis had invested a great deal of time and money in the company, but also defrauded it.
"This is obviously serious offending," he said. "I will leave you in no suspense at all."
Judge Carey added: "I would like for constructive reasons to take a course which will not lead to your immediate incarceration but I find your criminality is so serious that only an immediate custodial sentence is justified.
"I reach that conclusion because this is a bad breach of trust. The reason you have to go to prison is because of the serious nature of the breach of trust, the amount involved and the persistence of your offending."
The judge added: "The mitigation is substantial. You have made strenuous efforts to repay the money."
"He invested a substantial amount into the company. He was a very good businessman indeed..." - Danny Moore, defending
Danny Moore, defending, said Ellis was doing all he could to compensate Limen.
"He invested a substantial amount into the company," he said. "He was a very good businessman indeed."
Mr Moore said Ellis did not take a £13,275 bonus or £6,196 director's loan.
"He has done what he can so far as repayment is concerned," he added. "His mother-in-law will lend him the money to pay the difference.
"Through his skills the company has made a large amount of money. He is embarrassed and ashamed."
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