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Businessman forged orders to keep company going
A HAMPSHIRE managing director faked orders to keep his company going, a court heard.
Jon Harrison falsified paperwork to stop staff at Orbit CSE losing their jobs.
Southampton Crown Court heard Harrison, 44, had been under so much pressure at work that he even spent two hours on his wedding day finalising a genuine £500,000 deal.
Harrison was spared an immediate prison sentence after a judge accepted he had been trying to keep the firm going and had not made any money from his deception.
Harrison would negotiate for Orbit and submit internal sales orders to their headquarters in Israel which would then initiate the manufacturing process.
Prosecutor Rachel Robertson said the fraud was only discovered after the appointment of a qualified accountant.
She outlined how the accountant had asked one customer, Elcome International, to pay three outstanding invoices totalling $48,000 created by Harrison but the company said it had no knowledge of the order or invoices, and later confirmed they were fraudulent.
The accountant later discovered another invoice involving Relay Engineering and a draft letter requesting a 50 per cent cancellation fee. Both the invoice and letter were found to be fraudulent.
Five other invoices involving the Ministry of Defence had also been fabricated, the court heard.
Ms Robertson said the overall loss to Orbit was nearly £82,000.
Harrison’s fraud would have enhanced his and the company’s sales figures but the prosecution accepted he had not been financially motivated as he did not receive a bonus. He also acted to protect staff dealing with MoD projects.
“This however resulted in the company continuing to pay wages when ordinarily they would have been made redundant had they known the contracts had ceased,” Ms Robertson told the court.
Harrison, of Sovereign Close, Totton, admitted a fraud charge and received a 12-month suspended sentence and a 240-hour community work order.
In mitigation, Alistair Wright told the court he had a fear of failure and was very driven. Several business people attended his wedding and Harrison spent two hours clinching a £500,000 deal.
“Given the global market and the amount of money involved, one can understand why a fear of failure came about,” he said.
Confirming Harrison was now employed by a rival firm, Mr Wright added: “Inherently he is an honest man. If he was not, one suspects he would be out of a job.”
Judge Susan Evans QC said she would not order any confiscation. It was a matter which should be heard by a civil court.
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