Businessman fleeced by friend who used his cash to hire Strictly dancers


A man who was ripped off for £175k by a friend who worked for his company said her crimes had cost him his life savings.

Paul Gibson was systematically swindled by Susan Bailey, 66, over a period spanning nearly two years. She took his cash to pay for holidays, weddings and parties for which she hired Strictly Come Dancing professional performers.

While he was working in London, she was responsible for the day-to-day finances of his Hanley-based firm, Palfreyman Power.

The 63-year-old said she was a friend who he trusted “implicitly”.

But behind his back she was bleeding his company dry. She even invited him to one of the extravagant bashes his cash had been used to pay for.

Mr Gibson only became aware of her crimes when, while she was on holiday, he opened a demand from the Inland Revenue for £67,000.

Mr Gibson had no choice but to pay the cash out of his own savings.

Yesterday, Bailey was sent to prison for defrauding the company of around £175,000.

Mr Gibson said he took her on in 2001, and “she became responsible for the day-to-day finance matters and office management leaving me free to concentrate on securing contracts”.



Susan Bailey, aged 66, has been jailed after she admitted 11 charges of fraud
Susan Bailey, aged 66, has been jailed after she admitted 11 charges of fraud

He added: “My partner subsequently left the company and Palfreyman Power Limited came into being in 2014. Susan Bailey remained in her role as financial director. In August 2016 I suspended her when I became aware of financial irregularities, which only she could be responsible for.

“These irregularities came to light while she was on holiday in Spain, and I had to open the post. I was utterly devastated to discover a final demand from the Inland Revenue for immediate payment of £67,000 for unpaid taxes.”

He said the firm’s accountants spoke to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and asked them for a week’s extension. But, he said, they told the company Bailey had fobbed them off for long enough, and the firm would be wound up if the cash wasn’t paid.



Paul Gibson, director of Palfreyman Power Limited, has welcomed the 40 month sentence passed down to Susan Bailey who defrauded his company of £175,000
Paul Gibson, director of Palfreyman Power Limited, has welcomed the 40 month sentence passed down to Susan Bailey who defrauded his company of £175,000

“I had no choice but to pay the money from my savings or we would all have been out of a job,” he added.

Mr Gibson said Bailey had acted as though she was “terribly concerned” about the financial problems facing the company, but was continuing to skim money throughout.

He added: “I was absolutely devastated when I discovered the scale of her theft and treachery and for how long it had been going on. This at the same time she had socialised with my family, our friends and company employees. I still find it unbelievable that she could steal and betray me on an almost daily basis and still act normally with me, my family and employees.



Susan Bailey was jailed for 40 months for defrauding her employer Palfreyman Power
Susan Bailey was jailed for 40 months

“When I first suspected something was amiss and only Susan could be responsible I simply could not believe it of her as I looked on her as a friend, not just an employee. She was extremely well paid, given an executive company car, mobile phone and very generous holiday allowance.

“The reason I did not suspect anything was, firstly, I could not believe that anyone, let alone she, was capable of such overwhelming deceit. Secondly, the degree of complexity and planning which went into covering up the theft, to prevent me or the accountants from discovering what she had been doing was on a breathtaking scale.

“Susan Bailey always acted as though she was terribly concerned for the financial problems we were having but she continued to steal from the business regardless. I was particularly concerned about losing the business and people being made redundant.”



Susan Bailey arriving at Stoke-on-Trent crown court to be sentenced for fraud
Susan Bailey arriving at Stoke-on-Trent crown court to be sentenced for fraud

“I learned that on the very day I transferred the funds she fraudulently withdrew a substantial amount of the £30,000 from our branch the same afternoon for her own use. We found she paid substantially towards a wedding and she used a company cheque to pay the caterers.

“It is heartbreaking to think of what she spent out money on – the expensive holidays she went on and paid for others to go on; paying for relatives’ hen and stag parties; weddings and honeymoons; lavish presents; and not to mention her 60th birthday party for more than 200 people at Stoke City Football Club, complete with champagne reception and a performance by Strictly Come Dancing professional dancers. It just makes us more miserable to think of the fun she had with our money.

“Contrasting this with the fact we now have no savings and cannot afford holidays, makes us realise that our hard work and sacrifice has been for nothing. We should be looking forward to retirement, not scraping by.”

Sign up to receive the latest news alerts straight to your inbox for free here

Bailey, from Werrington, was sentenced to 40 months in jail.

Carl Hargan, mitigating for her at Stoke-on-Trent crown court, said it was sad to see a 66-year-old woman facing custody. He said: “There is a great deal of shame and embarrassment about her behaviour.

“The length of time it has taken to come to the date has been stressful for everyone involved. She has suffered stress and anxiety because of the proceedings and what she has done and the shame she feels.”


Video Loading

Video Unavailable

Judge David Fletcher said: “I can’t even begin to imagine what Mr Gibson felt when he opened the envelope to read that he owed £67,000 with immediate effect.”

He described the fraud as “calculated and sophisticated”.

Detective Constable Gary Cliffe, of Staffordshire Police, added: “The deceit and dishonesty from Bailey and how she abused her position was immense. Bailey’s responsibility was to safeguard the financial interests of the company and not act against it.

“She took a huge sum of money from a company that trusted her and employed her and used it to live the high life.”

Top stories from today’s newsletter

Police discover body of dad after smashing way into North Staffordshire flat

Rules for shopping in supermarkets now lockdown has eased

Couple challenge burglar after finding him in their bedroom at 5.45am

Passenger fury as First axes Victoria Road and Lichfield Street from two routes

2000 local care home staff still not vaccinated

Not signed up to the newsletter? Try it outhere

Sign up now to receive it for freehere





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *