A convicted fraudster nicked thousands of pounds from estate agents and splashed out on a Jaguar and Lego sets, a court heard.
Kieran Moore, who used to work for the firm, pocketed more than £20,000 of their money after leaving his job under a cloud. Despite buying the car on the same day he got an illegal £18,000 lump sum, he said it was just a “bad coincidence” and he hadn’t noticed the extra cash
The 39 year old had been working as accounts manager at Anthony James Estate Agents in Southport “for some time” but started having problems with his work in February 2021. Moore, from Uldale Close in Ainsdale, quit during a meeting about his behaviour, and even though he tried to take back his resignation, he was officially sacked in March that year.
But Helen Chenery, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court how two lots of money were then “paid into” one of his bank accounts within a month. One payment of £1,966.36 arrived on March 9, followed by another £18,451.32 on April 9, the ECHO reports.
These funds were “almost immediately” transferred into another account in Moore’s name. On the first occasion the monies were spent on “expensive” Lego sets, while the second tranche was used to buy a Jaguar on the same date it was received.
Ms Chenary said: “The crown are unable to say how the monies came into his account. Mr Moore would have been aware immediately of those monies in his account.”
The discrepancy came to light on April 12 after pest control company AP Pest Control reported that it had not been paid for work it had carried out and that bank details listed on paperwork were incorrect. Moore was subsequently interviewed by police in July 2021, and gave a prepared statement to detectives in which he called company director Mark Chambers “a bully who thinks he knows better, even when he is wrong”.
He was said to be on annual salary in the region of £24,000 at the time, but claimed he “rarely looked at his finances” and “had other sources of income” including dealing in cryptocurrencies. The defendant added that he “couldn’t explain” the payments and described his purchase of the car as a “bad coincidence”.
Ms Chenary said that Moore has since “provided a number of different explanations why he has not repaid the money” – including maintaining that his victims had been repaid by their bank, claiming that he was “not sure” where to pay the money into and that a cryptocurrency windfall was due to land in his own account imminently.
A statement read out to the court on the company’s behalf described how his actions had left the business “in an extremely vulnerable position” and added: “He perceives this as a game.”
Moore has a total of five previous convictions for 14 offences, including fraud by false representation in 2015. He was handed a suspended prison sentence on this occasion after failing to disclose his previous motoring matters to car insurance companies.
Arthur Gibson, defending, told the court that his client had recently repaid around £10,000 to the estate agents after borrowing from family and friends. He added: “He is his own worst enemy.
“I say this whether Mr Moore likes it or not. When it became clear that the money had been wrongly paid into his account, it could have been repaid then and should have been.
“There is another side to him, which is shown by his long-suffering partner. He has been extremely good to her and her child.”
Moore was found guilty of two counts of theft by a jury following a trial, but cleared of two charges of fraud. He nodded in the dock as he was jailed for 15 months, and could now be ordered to repay the stolen cash under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Sentencing, Judge David Swinnerton said: “For whatever reason, monies from your recently former employer were transferred into your bank account. Your explanation to the police was that you thought it was a large sum of cryptocurrency that was being transferred and you did not notice that £18,451.32, despite the fact that your annual salary was somewhere between £21,000 and £24,000.
“Still today, less than half of the money has been paid back. I am told it is still on its way.
“Frankly, you have lied and frustrated the whole process of paying the money back for years. Still it has not been paid back.”
The judge quoted his words under interview, in which he labelled Mr Chambers a “bully”, back to him and added: “That is very, very apt for you – that is the distinct impression I have got from you. You know you should have paid it back straight away, yet still you have tried everything to avoid doing so and to cause as much difficulty and delay as possible in that process.”