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Diss Fraudster is jailed after taking nearly £180,000 from organisations

A Diss man who took nearly £180,000 from two organisations has been jailed by Norwich Crown Court today.

Trevor Lee, 56, of Elm Grove, appeared after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud by abuse of position - he was sentenced to three years and four months in prison.

The charge relates to a number of incidents between 2017 and 2019 in which Lee had been working as a treasurer for the Norfolk Rugby Union Referee Society (NRURS), and later as a director for a company named Salire Ltd.

Norwich Crown Court
Norwich Crown Court

He achieved this by merging the society’s funds with his personal accounts, writing false cheques to temporarily inflate the balance, and declaring false balances at AGMs and to the Financial Conduct Authority.

He also sold stock, owned by his employer Salire Ltd, and had fraudulent invoices being paid into his personal account, rather than the business.

Lee was found out by the new chairman of the NRURS when he requested to be added as a signature on the rugby club’s accounts and discovered that the balance was only 65p instead of over £24,000.

Lee’s employer, Salire Ltd, was informed of his offending by the club as the business was a sponsor and this sparked a full investigation into his activities.

It was later confirmed that Lee had stolen exactly £80,095 from NRURS and £97,908 from Salire Ltd respectively.

When confronted Lee admitted the first offence, saying he used the funds to finance his gambling addiction.

He has since made efforts to repay some of the money taken from NRURS. Lee provided no comment in relation to offence involving Salire Ltd.

DC Natalie McCormack, investigating officer of the NRURS fraud, said, "His prolonged offending has deprived a Norfolk sporting community of valuable financial resources for years, resources that should have benefited the sport of Rugby.

"His actions were selfish and manipulative and showed a complete disregard for his victims, many of whom considered him a friend.”

"I am pleased with the sentence as it reflects the impact Lee’s offending has had on his local community and hope the victims can find some comfort knowing he can now no longer offend.”

DS Stuart Sansbury, investigating officer of the Salire Ltd fraud offence said whilst working as a director for Salire Ltd, Lee had a responsibility to uphold the best interests and moral standards of a reputable trading company.

She added: "Instead, he deceitfully mishandled company stock, and embezzled company money to helped fund his personal gambling addiction.

"The impact on Salire Ltd was profound, and they struggled enormously, putting the welfare and livelihood of its staff at great risk.

"Due to his actions, Lee is now going to spend a considerable amount of time in prison, and I sincerely hope that today’s sentence provides the victims with some reassurance and hope for the future."

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