Ramsgate accountant jailed for stealing £125k from sick business owner

Denise Short was jailed for four years for fraud by abuse of position.

An accountant from Ramsgate has been jailed for stealing £125,000 from an unwell business owner using fake invoices.

Denise Short – also known as Denise Jones –, of Park Road, had been entrusted to oversee the victim’s accounts after he took a step back from his property business in Dover due to ill health.

But instead of helping him, she produced false invoices and transferred money directly to her own personal bank account.

In all cases the documents were completely fake where no goods or services had actually been purchased through the business.

She was only found out when the victim spoke to a plumber in 2016 about the amount of work he was seemingly giving him and the plumber said he had only been paid to do a fifth of the amount mentioned.

The business-owner confronted Short who refused to let him see the books, but with the help of another accountant he was able to review the transactions between 2013 and 2016.

Short was suspended after the victim discovered numerous invoices falsely labelled ‘wages’ and ‘windows’, which amounted to more than £125,000 in total over the three-year period.

During an investigation by Kent Police, it was also discovered that 53-year-old Short had not declared any extra income to HMRC during this time.

She was charged with fraud by abuse of position but denied any wrong-doing.

A jury found her guilty following a trial at Canterbury Crown Court on Thursday (February 28) and she was sentenced to four years in prison.

Investigating officer PC Josh Cooper said: “The victim in this case trusted Short with his finances and feels completely let down.

“This serious breach of trust has left the business-owner significantly out of pocket.

“During the trial she tried to implicate the victim in order to divert her liability but thankfully the jury saw through her lies and the judge handed her a robust sentence.

“It has also been agreed that Short will repay the victim all of the money she stole.”