Thurrock: Men sentenced for multi-million pound theft
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Two men, who defrauded a company out of over three and a half million pounds, will spend a combined total of 8 and a half years in jail.
The two former directors of the company appeared at Basildon Crown Court on Friday, 15 September for sentencing after they were found guilty on Tuesday, 27 June of multiple business theft offences.
An investigation into Graeme Loveland and Dennis Wakeling was launched by Essex Police’s Economic Crime Unit in June 2019, following an allegation into Action Fraud.
The two men were working as company directors at Thurrock Local Enterprise Agency, a company based in Grays which provided business training. Over the course of a couple of years, the two men sold land and property belonging to the company, transferring millions into business accounts they had direct access to.
During the investigation, enquiries revealed that Loveland had taken over £1.5 million pounds, using the money to fund an extravagant lifestyle, purchasing luxury vintage cars.
They were interviewed by police in January 2020 and denied doing anything wrong, claiming to have paid themselves fair salaries. Loveland was subsequently charged with four counts of theft and one count of concealing or disguising criminal property. Wakeling was charged with two counts of theft and one count of concealing or disguising criminal property.
Following a four-week trial, the pair were found guilty on all counts and remanded into custody.
They appeared at Basildon Crown Court for sentencing on Friday, 15 September.
Graeme Loveland, 70 of West Hanningfield, Chelmsford was sentenced to a total of 5 years and 6 months imprisonment.
Dennis Wakeling, 83 of High Road, Orsett was sentenced to a total of 3 years imprisonment.
His Honour Judge Hurst said "It is a tragedy for your respective reputations in your senior years, you ultimately succumbed to greed, both rewarding yourselves, or your company inconceivably and dishonest large sums of money. It is theft pure and simple".
Investigating Officer Detective Constable Greig Avery said “Loveland and Wakeling stealing from the company came down to nothing but greed.
“They lived a lavish lifestyle and thought they had gone under the radar.
“Business fraud is not a victimless crime but that is not the case. This business was a non-profit organisation which aimed to provide free support to local businesses.
“Fraud investigations can be long but we will continue to work with Action Fraud and the Crown Prosecution Service to investigate all allegations of fraud.”