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Cocaine addict salesman stole £69000 to fund booze, drugs and Alton Towers trip – Liverpool Echo

A crooked salesman stole £69,000 from his employer after setting up secret Paypal accounts to funnel money to himself.

Sean McDevitt, 34, carried out around 200 dodgy transactions while working at West Lancashire[1] firm Yellow Products Design to fund drink and drug habits and pay for restaurant visits and hotel stays.

McDevitt, of Tithebarn Road in Southport[2] , was jailed for 26 months after admitting carrying out the transactions over a two-year period between 2015-17.

Prosecuting, Lisa Worsley told Preston Crown Court[3] that McDevitt was given a full-time job at the Halsall-based firm, which is also known as Weatherstop, after impressing boss Ashley Smith when he visited to fix an IT issue.

 

The company trades in products such as garage door sealants and primarily carries out sales online, with staff based at its headquarters on Summerwood Lane.

As the company’s overseas sales grew, particularly in the US, McDevitt was moved to a later shift of 1pm-9pm, which involved working four hours alone in the office each day and was rewarded with a £3,000 pay rise.

Sean McDevitt was jailed for 26 months

But when a confused customer accidentally sent a Paypal payment to a wrong email address, McDevitt set up an account to collect that money for himself and began a regular swindle which saw him carry out dodgy transaction once a week.

He also regularly gave 10% discounts - which were not offered by the firm - to customers who he tricked into paying directly to him.

 

In total, £43,606 was paid directly to accounts controlled by McDevitt, while the stock and courier services used to complete those transactions took the total cost to the company to more than £69,000.

Among the items bought with the stolen money were computer equipment, a drone, restaurant meals, and a stay at the Alton Towers Hotel.

The dealings were uncovered when Mr Smith walked past McDevitt’s computer in and saw an unusual invoice on the screen.

He initially assumed McDevitt was carrying out a personal transaction but decided to investigate further and checks on his browser history revealed that he had also viewed porn and logged onto Facebook[4] while working.

 

Early the next day, Mr Smith attempted to log onto McDevitt’s computer but found a blank screen and the system seemingly wiped and he was suspended.

Forensic investigation and analysis of accounts revealed the extent of the fraud of McDevitt was eventually sacked and the crime reported to the police.

In addition to the stolen money, the firm has been hit with further costs totalling more than £14,000 for solicitor fees, forensic investigations, and new computer systems.

Defending, Paul Becker said that McDevitt was at a “very, low ebb” when he carried out the theft as he battled alcohol and cocaine addiction, for which he has already sought treatment.

He added that McDevitt has been married for six years and has two children from a previous marriage, as well as living close to his mother who depends heavily on him.

Sentencing, Judge Nicholas Barker said: “This was money you stole from your employer which was a business which was owned and run by Mr Ashley Smith. You came upon him while undertaking some IT work at his business and you impressed him.

“That could and should have been a good opportunity for you to make good and be part of a vibrant and successful business.

“But you then began to steal money from this business, you began to operate a shadow system within the company with customers using a different email system which then diverted money from the company into your own accounts.

"This was repeated on many, many occasions over this time.”

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References

  1. ^ West Lancashire (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
  2. ^ Southport (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
  3. ^ Preston Crown Court (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
  4. ^ Facebook (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)

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