Westbury husband and wife jailed for fraud must hand over all assets

Wiltshire Times: Maidstone Combined Court Centre Maidstone Combined Court Centre

A Westbury husband and wife given jail sentences totalling nearly five and a half years for fraud and acquiring criminal property have been ordered by a judge to hand over all the money they have in compensation.

If they fail to comply they face more time in jail.

But, as the order of Maidstone Crown Court was that they hand over £66,508 – their total combined assets – that will still leave the victims they scammed out of £360,000 still massively out of pocket.

Gail Gardiner, 47, of Shire Way, Westbury, who was a £40,000 a year manager at a Maidstone, Kent, based Hanson Aggregates, was jailed for three years and four months by a judge at the court in January.

She pleaded guilty to fraud in which she had paid £359,056 belonging to the company, Hanson Aggregates, of Maidstone, into a bank account held by her husband between April 2010 and December last year.

Her husband, Richard Gardiner, also 47, of Lilac Grove, Westbury, who pleaded guilty to pleaded guilty to acquiring criminal property - £359,056 – between the same dates was jailed for two years.

Judge Philip Statman was told at yesterday’s hearing that there was £33,761 available from Mrs Gardiner.

Her husband’s assets were put at £32,747 and the judge ordered that they hand this money over and gave them six months to pay.

If they fail to then they will face a further nine months in prison.

When he jailed them in January the judge told them: “There has been a gross breach of trust. This is a sophisticated fraud. The amount of money is very substantial indeed.”

Prosecutor Sarah Lindop had told the court that Gail Gardiner, a mother of two, who had worked for Hanson for 15 years was in a position of trust and responsibility and although her main home was in Westbury she had lived in Maidstone.

Miss Lindop said Gardiner had opened an account was in her husband’s name in October 2010 and money was paid into it for fictitious work carried out for Hanson, which supplies construction materials.

She said a total of £359,056 was taken and a further £27,000 was in the process of being taken when it as stopped as a result of an internal investigation.

Miss Lindop said that the scam had caused the Hanson “extreme difficulty” and that it was estimated that the money taken by the Gardiners represented ten per cent of their UK profit in a year.

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