A former Evans Halshaw employee who diverted 73 DVLA cheques worth over £10,000 into his own bank account has avoided jail in a fraud hearing at York Crown Court.
Michael Richards, an ex-employee of Pendragon's Evans Halshaw Vauxhall dealership at Clifton Moor, near York, claimed that he had been trying to safeguard the money because the cheques were so old that they were running out of time to be paid into a bank account, the York Press reported.
But deputy circuit judge Tim Clayson told Richards “I don’t accept that explanation” of why the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) cheques were cashed into his personal account, adding: “It seems to be a case of trying to enrich yourself.”
Kelly Sherif, prosecuting, had told the court that the DVLA had notified police that 73 cheques that it had sent to Evans Halshaw had not reached the company’s bank accounts back in November.
She said Richards had crossed out the Evans Halshaw payee name and written in his own on the cheques in its place.
Then paid them into his own account in 18 batches – worth a total of £10,346.03 – between May 24 and August 13, 2021.
Richards (36), of Stope Avenue, Kinsley, near Pontefract, had no previous convictions and pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation.
He was given an eight-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months on condition he does 80 hours’ unpaid work. He must also repay all the money to his former employers.
Deputy Judge Clayson told the court that he had taken Richards’ domestic circumstances and his wife’s ill health into account in establishing his sentence.