Married finance director blew £250k of company cash on call girls and holidays

A finance director helped divert over £250,000 of company funds to be spent on prostitutes, overseas holidays and hotel rooms.

Darren Parker, 43, splurged on overseas holidays, home improvements and online shopping at the expense of his employer Storetec Engineering Ltd, based in Clervo. When he was caught, he claimed that he was being coerced by call-girls who were making increasingly demanding payments.

He is now starting a three-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to three counts of fraud.

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Preston Crown Court heard Parker, who is married, had been employed by the company as a financial controller on a team of seven since 2014. He was promoted as the Financial Director in 2018 following the restructuring of the company. The court heard that he had been trusted with overall control of the company’s coffers, but unbeknownst to his employers he had set himself up as a ‘superuser’ on the online banking system.

In 2019, a colleague, Sophie Thompson, observed that Parker was not giving her full instructions to carry out her duties and said things were being taken care of when they were not. When the lockdown took place in March 2020, Parker started working from home. However six months after the arrangement, Parker’s deception was discovered while he was on leave.

Ms Thompson noticed that Thames Water Limited’s invoices had not been paid, and when she began to investigate this, she found that Parker had been paid, which was offset by older invoices. He noticed that all the payments were made early in the morning, before starting work for the day.

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