Trusted Advisers? – accountant’s fraud leads to 5 year jail sentence

An accountant who admitted defrauding £3.4 million from high-profile clients, such as pop star Rita Ora and rugby player Matt Dawson, has been jailed for more than five years following a “lengthy and complex investigation”.

Andrew Munday pleaded guilty to using his position as an accountant at a now-defunct Northampton accountancy firm between 2009 and 2016 to skim millions of pounds from high-profile clients.

He used the money to buy several high-value properties, Star Wars memorabilia, designer jewellery and an executive lounge membership at Tottenham Hotspur FC.

As the prosecuting counsel said, Munday had “rifled [through] the bank accounts of those he had been entrusted to manage” in order to spend the money on a lavish lifestyle, real estate and gambling.   His fraud subsequently led to his employers accountancy firm going into liquidation.

Aggravating features taken into consideration during his sentencing included the sophistication of the fraud, the seven years of offending, the forging of consultancy documents and falsifying bank accounts to obtain credit.

Jailing him for five years and eight months, the Judge said that the individuals who trusted Munday with their bank sign-in details had been emotionally scarred by the abuse of trust.

A police spokesman described the case as a “lengthy and complex investigation” dating back to 2016, during which time Northamptonshire Police’s Financial Investigation Team “worked tirelessly” to get to the bottom of the criminal activity.

As with many investigations like this, the first evidence of fraud was spotted by Munday’s employers who bought in forensic experts immediately.

They found that money he had said was to pay the taxman was actually going into his own personal bank accounts and uncovered evidence of his gambling habits.   Further investigations revealed that he was living far beyond his means – a common sign of fraud.

Roger Isaacs, Forensic Partner at Milsted Langdon, is an expert in business fraud investigations.  Reviewing this story which appeared on BBC News he said : “This was a difficult case that involved a trusted accountant who used sophisticated means and deceit to defraud high profile clients of millions of pounds.  My own firm had a significant involvement in the case details of which cannot be disclosed for reasons of confidentiality.

“It was Munday’s employers who spotted the warning signs and alerted police, which led to the subsequent investigations revealing a litany of offences against multiple clients.

“The work of forensic accountants was critical in this case and highlights the value that police and the criminal justice system place on their expertise when uncovering fraud. Businesses who suspect fraud within their own company should recognise the warning signs from this case and seek advice.”

Posted in Blog, The Forensic Blog.