Two men jailed for combined 13 years after 'most complex fraud case in Jersey's history'

  • ITV Channel's Tim Backshall reports from outside Jersey's Magistrate's Court

Two men have been jailed for a total of 13 years after defrauding a Jersey company out of almost £3.4 million.

Roy Jeanne, 72, was sentenced to nine years in prison with his accomplice Michael Timms, 74, given a four-year custodial term.

The offences took place over 13 years and it has been described as the "most complex case of its kind to come before the courts of Jersey".

So-called Operation Lavender took police and financial experts more than five years to investigate.

Jersey's Royal Court was told how Mr Jeanne, the former General Manager of insurance company Jersey Mutual, stole from his employer to fund a gambling addiction and to pay off a loan on his property in Spain.

The court heard how his position meant he had "complete authority over cheques and paying in books" and was able to divert funds into his own accounts.

It was, said the prosecution, a "gross breach of trust" and Mr Jeanne had treated the company as his "own personal credit facility".

Mr Jeanne's lawyer said his client felt profound remorse.

Almost £3.4 million was defrauded from Jersey Mutual Insurance Society. Credit: ITV News

The co-accused, Mr Timms, had owned one of the leading creative and marketing companies in Jersey.

He made false invoices which helped to cover up Mr Jeanne's crimes.

The crimes were only revealed after Mr Jeanne had retired and his successor started to realise that money had gone missing.

In sentencing the two men, Commissioner Sir John Saunders said "this was an offence of the greatest gravity".

Referring to Mr Jeanne, he added: "It was difficult to contemplate a more serious break of trust."

Mr Jeanne was charged and pleaded guilty to three counts of larceny servant, falsification of accounts, money laundering and conspiracy to commit fraud.

Mr Timms was charged and pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud.

In a statement, a spokesperson from Jersey Mutual said: "The society and its members placed their trust in Mr Jeanne. He betrayed that trust, and Mr Timms conspired to help him do so.

"The society now awaits the decision of the court in relation to any compensation order granted, from which the society can recover as much of the stolen money from Mr Jeanne and Mr Timms as we can.

"It is important to note that these misdeeds never jeopardised the society’s financial stability, nor led to any member suffering any losses of benefit. Nevertheless, we are taking this legal action in an attempt to recover funds that belong to the society.

"Since the fraud was uncovered, we have taken appropriate action to minimise any possibility that this could happen again."