Richard David Arthur, a chartered accountant from Jersey, was found guilty of scamming several clients during a period of seven years from 2002, which although some money was returned, resulted in a loss of £1.9m to his victims.
The court found that the accountant convinced his colleagues to agree the transfer of £750,000 from a company owned by one of his victims in a bid to use this money to buy shares in another. The money was instead transferred to his personal account and he spent it within days, according to the Jersey Evening Post.
Advocate Nuno Santos-Costa said Arthur was several hundred thousand pounds overdrawn and that he used some of the cash he took to inject into businesses he owned. He also bought a Formula One car.
Santos-Costa told the court, “Despite the fact that in September 2008 [Arthur’s] overdraft was at its £600,000 limit he continued to book extremely expensive holidays and to live a totally extravagant lifestyle.”
Commissioner Julian Clyde-Smith, said, “In our view this is a really serious case of fraud by the defendant holding the most senior position, namely managing director of a well-known firm of accountants.
“He has caused profound distress to his victims and has damaged the integrity of the financial services sector and the trust of those using the service.”
According to the report, the court ordered Arthur to be jailed for seven years after causing “profound distress” to his victims This was one more year than the Crown’s initial sentencing recommendation.
He was also banned from participating in corporate management or directorship for 12 years.
The former BDO director has been ceased to be an ICAEW member since February 2013, due to failing to pay outstanding fines and costs.
Defending Arthur, David Steenson said his client’s deception was “not sophisticated” and explained he turned to crime to try to keep an investment afloat.
“Instead of confronting his financial problems in a proper manner he took the easy way out. Clichés are clichés for a reason. The fact is he could not see the wood for the trees and he ended up digging himself an even bigger hole,” he told the court.
His defence also said he was a “broken man” who has lost his career, his money, had since separated from his wife and could no longer see his daughters.
Matthew Corbin, CEO of BDO in Jersey, said, “Arthur was, until early 2009, a director of a predecessor BDO firm operating in Jersey. He has never been connected with the current firm of BDO in Jersey. The predecessor firm was itself one of the victims of certain offences that Arthur was charged with and had an active and positive engagement with the authorities in their investigation and prosecution of Arthur.”