Fedster + 1,307 Posted October 18, 2018 Share Posted October 18, 2018 Victim funded case after police did not pursue. Gerard Lawless. Photo credit: South Beds News Agency Date - 18th October 2018 By - South Beds News Agency 2 Comments A fraudster called Lawless was jailed for seven-and-a-half years on Wednesday following a private prosecution brought because the police did not have the resources to investigate. Company accountant Gerard Lawless, now 60, was convicted by a jury who heard he stole £1.8 million to fund expensive holidays, shopping trips to Selfridges and tickets for Ireland rugby internationals. The case was brought against him by Vincent Tickel, the boss of a public relations company called Hunter that is based in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. After the case, Mr Tickel said: "I am disappointed that having reported this crime to the police they did absolutely nothing and left me with the task of having to fund a private prosecution in order to get justice." Lawless took the money over 11 years - mainly from Mr Tickel's two public relations companies Hunter and Carbon. A jury at St Albans crown court found Lawless of Galway, Ireland, guilty of theft and fraud by abuse of position. His wife Angela Lawless, 58, of the same address, was cleared of being concerned in the acquisition, retention, use of control of criminal property. The couple previously lived in Clarence Road, Harpenden, Herts. Prosecutor Gideon Cammerman QC told the jury: "On November 20, 1997 Mr Lawless began an accounts role within a small group of companies in Hertfordshire predominately owned by Vincent Tickel.” He said he stole the money for 2003 to 2014 in lots of different ways, all of which supported a luxurious lifestyle. Mr Cammerman said: "It was spent on holidays, shopping at Selfridges and John Lewis, on family outings to international rugby games - Mr Lawless being a supporter of Ireland." He said Mr Tickel and others at the companies trusted Mr Lawless, with Mr Tickel telling his wife that if he died she should go to Mr Lawless because he knew about everything. "That trust was betrayed in a sustained way," said the prosecutor. Mr Cammerman added: "In a decade, £230,000 was spent on holidays - that is £25,000 a year. Many thousands of pounds was spent on wine and champagne. "So blatant did the fraud become that champagne for his son's wedding, to which the directors and employers were invited, was bought with a company credit card. "He (Mr Lawless) would pay for a big meal on a company credit card and other people would give him money for their share back. He was giving his bank details for people to send him their share." Adrian Waterman QC said that some of the expenditure had been for business, not Lawless' personal use, taking the amount of the fraud down to around £1.5 million. Judge Alan Greenwood accepted this. The judge banned Lawless from being a company director for 10 years and made a restraint order on him and his wife preventing them disposing of assets. After the case, Vince Tickel said: "The jury came to the true and rightful verdict that Gary [Gerard] Lawless, a valued and trusted part of my senior management team who became a close personal family friend, had stolen a huge sum of money in excess of £1.8 million over 11 years." Tamlyn Edmonds of EMM Law, who brought the private prosecution, said: "It is shocking to think that Gerard Lawless almost got away with stealing £1.5 million because the police did not investigate this case. "This lack of investigation, which is a common occurrence, is why so much financial fraud goes completely unpunished. It is only because the victim pursued a private prosecution that justice has now been served." The judge made the order that cost of the prosecution will be borne by the state. Hertfordshire Constabulary is implementing "an immediate review to examine the circumstances surrounding the decisions made in November 2016 concerning this case", a spokesman said. View On Police Oracle Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Create an account or sign in to comment
You need to be a member in order to leave a comment
Create an account
Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!Register a new account
Already have an account? Sign in here.Sign In Now