Took £46,000 from friends' business to prop up family firm
A MAN who offered to do the books voluntarily for a friend's fledgling shop used £46,000 of its funds to support an ailing family business.
Jordan Gallienne, 27, of Arkham, 22, Clos des Pecqueries, Rue des Cottes, St Sampson's, admitted nine counts of fraud when he appeared in the Magistrate's Court, where he was jailed for nine months.
The court heard that all but £2,000 of the money had been paid back and a compensation order was made for the outstanding amount.
Prosecuting Advocate Jenny McVeigh told the court how in 2015 a woman who was friendly with the defendant and his wife had set up Abode Lifestyle, which sold lifestyle goods and clothing, with a female business partner.
They were advised to open up a business account as opposed to using a personal one. The defendant agreed to do this on a voluntary basis and, as he was the commercial director at his father's company, the women trusted him. It was agreed that the money would be transferred into an account in the defendant's name while a business account was being set up.
By October 2017 one of the women became concerned that she had no way of monitoring the business account or reviewing the balance. The water and telephone at the shop were cut off and there were problems with the landlord over the late payment of rent. They also received a summons for the Petty Debts Court for unpaid tax.
The defendant would speak to only one of the women and the other one thought she was losing control of her own business. Her wages were not being paid on time and this caused problems with her mortgage payments. Towards the end of 2017 the shop's accountants discovered discrepancies in the book-keeping but the defendant stalled on providing accounts for that year. By the end of January 2018 the accountants had discovered inflated expenses on the accounts and were made aware of large transfers to the defendant's account.
One of the women had given the defendant £2,000 to bank but he failed to do so. Enquiries then revealed that there was no business account.
When one of the women challenged Gallienne about the financial position on 2 March last year he said he had borrowed money from his father to pay them back but would not say any more. The accountants sent a final warning and the first repayment was made on 9 March.
Advocate McVeigh said the situation had caused great concern and distress to the women. The defendant had taken money for an account that did not exist, had edited bank statements that were given to the accountants and had gambled with the women's livelihoods.
It was accepted that he had not taken the money to fund an extravagant lifestyle.
In interview Gallienne, who had no previous convictions, told police that he had used the money to prop up his father's company. He had good intentions and was going to pay the money back. Advocate Samuel Steel said his client's father's business had been trading for more than two decades and it employed 22 men. A property development with which it was involved was behind schedule which caused cash flow problems. His client, who was the businesses financial controller, thought the outstanding money would eventually come in. He always intended to pay the money back. He thought the women would be none the wiser and looked on it as a short-term fix. He was petrified of the family business closing, which it eventually did last November when it was liquidated.
Counsel said his client's remorse was powerful and genuine and the word sorry did not do justice to the guilt he felt. It had been the worst decision of his life and he was glad that Abode Lifestyle was still flourishing.
His client was passionate about his charity and volunteering work and he had also been a football coach.
Judge Graeme McKerrell said that fact that the victims in the case were friends made the situation almost worse. The defendant had prevaricated and laid a smoke-screen when things began to unravel. There had been a level of planning deceit.
It was impossible to ignore that fact that the money was not his to use and there was always a risk that it would not be paid back.
Sentences of nine months prison, concurrent, were imposed for each offence.