‘A spineless, despicable thief’: Boss’ anger at finance chief who cost eight people their jobs

Graham Whyles

Graham Whyles - Credit: Archant

EIGHT people lost their jobs at a Fenland firm after the company accountant stole almost £200,000 to fund a cocaine habit, a boss revealed.

Robert Wilson

Robert Wilson - Credit: Archant

The thefts took place when the company boss took “his eye off the ball” as he nursed his sick mother who was dying of cancer, he said.

Yesterday, former accountant Robert Wilson was jailed for two years at Peterborough Crown Court for stealing £195,719.53 from his employers over a five year period.

The 32 year old has been warned to expect a prison sentence after pleading guilty to stealing from his bosses.

Wilson worked in the accounts department for six years before being promoted to chief financial controller for blue chip company S&W processing in Longhill Road, March.

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It was a position of enormous trust that Wilson betrayed by setting up a series of falsified invoices to drip feed around £3,000 a month to his own bank account between 31 July, 2007 and 13 November, 2012.

S&W managing director Graham Whyles who runs the firm with his sons Nathan, Richard and Brett, said: “He was very clever at how he did it. Not only did he hoodwink us he hoodwinked the auditors.

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“When he started all of this my mother was dying of cancer so my eye was taken off the ball.

“All the time she was dying he was taking money.

“He is a spineless, despicable thief who betrayed the trust of me and his colleagues and has shown no remorse.”

Mr Whyles, whose firm designs and builds process equipment for the food manufacturing industry, said Wilson was so deep in debt through drug use that he asked his own father, who also worked at S&W, for a loan of £1200 in the week before his arrest.

Wilson’s father has since left the firm through embarrassment about what his son has done, he said.

“He was obviously up to his ears. He went off sick with stress which is when the net started closing in on him because we bought in a chartered accountant to cover while he was off.”

The accountant discovered that some payments from the previous month could not be reconciled which is when the firm started digging deeper, horrified at what they began to uncover.

As the figures began to stack up the police were called in and Wilson was arrested and charged.

Mr Whyles said: “We had to make eight people redundant which was purely due to his actions as it looked like figures were down.

“There have been no salary increases partly down to his thieving habits.

Mr Wyles said the breach of trust had been difficult to deal with.

“Not only has he stolen from me but in turn he stole from his colleagues. We have had many redundancies, young people with mortgages and children.

“It’s had a massive effect on us all,” he said.

“It knocks your confidence in everybody and it knocks trust.

“On a positive note we are thankful we are a strong company and have been able to survive this and move on. It would have been a very different tale if it had affected the business, if we had to close down.

“Thirty five people could have been out of work and a business of 30 years standing could have been ruined through the selfish actions of one man.”

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