A mobility scooter shop manager who faked records to skim as much as £10,000 in sales has been spared jail.
Paul Maloney, 45, of Oak Tree Close, Sutton, pleaded guilty to defrauding Eden Mobility Limited at Nottingham Crown Court last month.
Maloney’s scam was uncovered in April 2013 when a customer complained about a faulty scooter with a serial number that was registered as missing.
Sarah Munro, for the Crown, said: “Maloney took it upstairs and had hidden it away privately. He sold it for £500 and gave the customer a handwritten invoice.
“He was arranging sales and taking money and putting a lower amount into the system.”
When company staff double-checked their records they discovered that Maloney had been ‘in effect skimming between £90 and £300 on every sale’.
She said the ‘overall scale of the dishonesty is never going to be known’ but said after Maloney’s dismissal, sales at the shop increased by a factor of three.
It was estimated that Maloney had defrauded the company of between £8,000 and £10,000.
Miss Munro added: “Part of the difficulty of investigating it was that a large number of the customers were too unwell or had passed away.
“Maloney was able to falsify records and remain under the radar for quite a considerable period of time.”
In a victim impact statement Eden’s boss David Hughes said the fraud had affected the firm’s relationship with repeat customers, some of whom believed Maloney had overcharged them.
The court heard the offence was aggravated by Maloney’s leading role, the fact he had involved a sales assistant in the scheme and his abuse of a position of trust.
Phillip Plant, mitigating, said: “He is a family man. He committed these offences to look after his family. His wife has recurring significant illness. He accepts that it doesn’t excuse what he did.”
Judge Gregory Dickinson QC said: “No one knows precisely how many transactions there were. You have affected the good will, the reputation and the profitability of your employers. I accept this offence was committed while your wife was ill.
“Stop anyone in this building and they will have had to deal with illness. It is called real life and most people deal with it without descending to crime. The way we deal with adversity makes our character. You have failed that test.”
He sentenced Maloney to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and ordered him to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and abide by a 9pm to 6am curfew for the next four months. His finances will be checked before compensation is ordered.