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Fraudster Darren Carvill, from Maidstone, siphoned £260,000 from Mr Clutch accounts

A fraudster who siphoned off more than a quarter of a million pounds from a national car servicing company is set to be sentenced by a crown court judge.

Darren Carvill, who worked in the accounts department of Mr Clutch, transferred a total of £262,234.61 from multiple franchises and disguised them as payments to genuine suppliers and traders.

The 38-year-old, of King Edward Road, Maidstone, admitted 18 counts of fraud at Maidstone Magistrates' Court and could face a prison sentence.

Darren Carvill admitted 18 counts of fraud after stealing £260,000 from Mr Clutch
Darren Carvill admitted 18 counts of fraud after stealing £260,000 from Mr Clutch

Paul Edwards, prosecuting the case, said Carvill had been absent from work between August 15 and 16 last year when anomalies were spotted by franchisees.

He said: "The victims in this case are franchise owners of Mr Clutch.

"The franchise bank accounts are all with HSBC and Mr Carvill, who works in he accounts team at Mr Clutch in Rochester, had access to the franchise bank accounts."

Darren Carvill worked at Mr Clutch in Rochester
Darren Carvill worked at Mr Clutch in Rochester

Mr Edwards revealed any transactions needed a second authorisation to pay invoices and a fob and password were also required.

He added: "On August 16 a business partner checked the bank account and found it was heavily overdrawn.

"Between August 15 and 16 numerous transactions had been made into a bank account for Euro Car Parts which is a genuine supplier but this account was not linked to them.

Maidstone Magistrates' Court (6469482)
Maidstone Magistrates' Court (6469482)

"Mr Carvill had not been at work on August 15 and 16 but his fob and password had been used.

"Other franchise bank accounts also had a history of fraudulent transactions and £262,234.61 was transferred by Mr Carvill into various bank accounts."

Magistrates were told £36,000 had since been refunded while a further £45,000 had been returned to Mr Clutch franchises by the banks.

Carvill was released on unconditional bail and a date for his sentencing at Maidstone Crown Court will be confirmed at a later date.

Jean Sanderson, Chairman of the Bench, said: "You have pleaded guilty to these charges of fraud and because of the large amounts involved the sentencing powers are beyond us so you will have to go to crown court."

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