Accountant who hid £1/2m of debt from bosses at Hull firm Plasticon jailed

Accounts boss Ian Fisher was jailed for two years. Credit: MEN Media

Eighty workers at a plastics company in Hull lost their jobs after the finance manager falsified the accounts to hide more than £1/2million of debt, a court heard.

Ian Fisher overstated the level of business Plasticon UK was benefiting from and underplayed the company's debts, Hull Crown Court was told.

The firm's directors had no idea of the scale of their problems and had to take "drastic action" by sacking staff when the crisis unravelled.Fisher, 57, of Goodmanham, near Market Weighton, admitted false accounting between January 2017 and March 2018. He was jailed for two years.

The court heard Fisher was responsible for ledgers, management accounts and records, the court was told. He authorised payments to staff and was responsible for controlling invoices to customers, in effect acting as a director and taking part in directors' meetings.

Ian Fisher hid the scale of the company's debt from Plasticon UK's directors. Credit: MEN Media

By submitting false management accounts and taking on a 320,000 euros loan from a major shareholder, he saddled the company with more than £600,000 worth of debt.

In February 2018, HM Revenue and Customs petitioned for the company to be wound up and a £634,935 payment was demanded.

"The defendant did not tell the company directors about that," said Connor Stuart, prosecuting. A company director later received a letter at home inviting him to attend a meeting in March 2018.

It was the first time that he became aware of the problems."The defendant simply told him that there were no real concerns and that he should not be concerned," Mr Stuart added. Fisher later apologised to the directors and told them about the HMRC petition to wind up the company. He confirmed that he had hidden the document under his keyboard.

The 80 staff on the factory floor at Sutton Fields Industrial Estate were told their jobs would go with immediate effect."He thought he could manage a way out of it," Mr Stuart said. "Investors have lost that money. It was an abuse of position and power. Eighty employees lost their job with no notice whatsoever."Richard Thompson, mitigating, said Fisher had not benefited from his crime. He said: "Other than the payment of his salary, the defendant did not gain anything at all.

"Had it not been for the defendant's actions, the company would have failed at a much earlier stage. Very unusually, this offence was not motivated by financial gain. In this case, he has gained virtually nothing. The company was in debt when this offending started. The 300,000 euros loan may in part have been recovered."

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