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Former Trowbridge director fined £1,000 for falsifying accounts
9:31am Friday 20th September 2013 in Trowbridge
A former director of Cromwell Press forged invoices to hide the fact his pension fund paid for about £80,000 worth of building work on his house.
Andrew Hemmings falsified the paperwork to make it look as if the development was taking place on a commercial premises also undergoing building work But when the book company went bust, the 57-year-old's fellow directors noticed the paperwork and reported the matter to the police.
Now, after initially denying any wrongdoing, Hemmings has been fined £1,000 for two counts of false accounting.
Tessa Hingston, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court that Hemmings formed the company with Allan Hicks and Michael Arkell in 1992.
Although the company flourished in the 90s and the early part of the last decade it went into administration in 2009.
It was then that the police were called in to investigate what had been going on and they were shown the two invoices.
The paperwork from Ken Biggs Construction Ltd referred to work on a business premises when it should have been Hemmings' own home.
The first invoice, which was drawn up between mid 2005 was worth in excess of £47,000, the other, from early 2006 was for more than £30,000.
Miss Hingston said there had been a number of other investigations into the business but he only faced the two charges.
She said: "He accepts falsifying two invoices in that he stated that the work was being done on a commercial property when in fact it was his personal home."
Although there were tax benefits to him taking the money she said it was from his share of the pension fund and there was no suggestion the business or other directors suffered any loss.
Hemmings, of Downs View, Bradford on Avon, pleaded guilty to two charges of false accounting.
Jason Taylor, defending, said the work being carried out on his house was known about by the other directors.
"When this project started the money for this project was being paid by company funds," he said.
"The company was struggling to find the funds, the work had already started, the builders needed to be paid and the money was accelerated from Mr Hemmings' pension pot to pay."
He said the work on a commercial property was being carried out by the same firm of builders so the invoices were incorporated.
Mr Taylor said Hemmings was no longer a director and lived with his 20-year-old daughter in a rented home.
He said he worked in a boat and cycle hire company with gross earnings of £27,000 which were matched by his outgoings.
Passing sentence Recorder Michael Bowes QC said: "Whatever may have been the nature of the investigation that took place in the affairs of Cromwell Press, in the end the matters for which the prosecution have proceeded relate to false accounting of two invoices.
"You accept falsifying the invoice by saying the work was done on commercial property when it was your personal home.
"What you achieved as a result of that was relatively limited. It is accepted it was the acceleration of funds which would eventually have come to you.
"What ever may have been people's suspicions there is no evidence that you defrauded your company or co-workers."
Hemmings worked at the printing firm in White Horse Business Park, which went into administration in October 2010 following months of uncertainty.