A 41-year-old accountant has been sentenced to a total of 12 years’ imprisonment for defrauding two Reading companies of more than £1.8million.
Evelyn Gore-Strachan, of Monarch Drive, Shinfield, was sentenced at Reading Crown Court yesterday (22/4). She had pleaded guilty to nine counts of fraud by abuse of position at the same court on 26 January.
Photo of Evelyn Gore-StrachanGore-Strachan admitted carrying out four counts of fraud against Webtech Wireless, and carrying out five counts of fraud against a company called Britannia Pharmaceuticals.
Gore-Strachan was charged with the offences on 24 November 2015.
Between 1 April 2008 and 31 December 2012, while occupying the post of accountant working for a Reading company, Webtech Wireless, she defrauded the company of around £809,000 in total.
She did this by raising fraudulent invoices which were made payable to her own bank accounts, amounting to £130,983.
She also made fictitious VAT penalty notices (worth £91,536) which were paid to her accounts and also diverted payments worth £370,737 due to HMRC in respect of VAT and PAYE, to her own accounts. She also diverted royalty payments worth £216,520 intended to be paid to a company called Globetrac to her own bank account.
She later became a financial director of Britannia Pharmaceuticals and, between 1 March 2013 and 30 June 2015, she defrauded the company of a total of £1,000,614.
Between 1 March 2013 and 30 June 2014 she diverted rental payments worth £189,563 due to Britannia Pharmaceuticals to bank accounts in her own name. Between 1 April 2013 and 30 June 2015 she made payments from Britannia Pharmaceuticals worth £312,379 to bank accounts held by her on the basis of false non-existent or genuine invoices.
On 10 March 2014 she made a payment from Britannia Pharmaceuticals worth more than 36 million Japanese Yen (£207,565.63) to Kuowa a company solely owned by her, She set up a bank account in company name KUOVA (a similar name to the Japanese company) solely with the intention to receive stolen money. Three days later on 13 March 2014 she diverted part (£260,000) of the proceeds of sale of a building owned by Britannia Pharmaceuticals to the solicitors acting for Webtech Wireless Inc. This was used by Gore-Strachan to settle, in part, a civil claim made against her by Webtech Wireless Inc.
She was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for the four offences relating to Webtech and six years’ imprisonment for the five offences relating to Britannia Pharmaceuticals, which will run consecutively.
Investigating officer, Det Con Stephanie Burleigh, of the Force’s Economic Crime Unit, said: “This investigation uncovered deceit and fraud on a grand scale against two local employers. Evelyn Gore-Strachan betrayed the trust placed in her and abused her position to enrich herself and her associates.
“This has been a long and complex investigation and I trust that the conviction and sentence passed not only reassures our communities but also sends a message out that crime will not pay in the Thames Valley.”