Building boss must pay back £1m stolen from contractor

Grant Prior 13 years ago

The former general manager of a building firm has been ordered to pay back £1m he swindled from the company.

Michael Crowther and his wife  could be forced to sell their home to pay the cash back to Whitefield based contractor Magden Ltd

Crowther of Bryantsfield, Lostock, Bolton, admitted 24 counts of false accounting and 24 counts of theft and was jailed for five years in April.

His wife, Carol Crowther was convicted of possessing criminal property and was given a one year prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 250 hours unpaid work.

Over a five-year period Michael Crowther stole £1,027,214.21 while working as general manager at Magden Ltd.

During a search of his house in March 2008, £112,552.24 in sterling, US dollars and premium bonds was found. Documents showing shares and investments in excess of £400,000 were also recovered.

At a confiscation hearing today, the couple were found to have benefited in total £1,583,711.47 from the fraud.

Based on available assets – including equity in their house, investments, stocks and shares and the cash seized following their arrest – they have been ordered to repay jointly £1,178,162.68 within six months otherwise Michael Crowther will be jailed for a further four and a half years and Carol will be jailed for three years.

Both will then still have to repay the money.

All of the money will be repaid to Magden Limited.

Financial Investigator, Keith Graham, said: “Over a number of years Crowther systematically stole a vast amount of money from his employer, who had been nothing but generous to him in terms of salary and bonuses.

“He squirrelled it away without a second thought to any of his work colleagues, some of who lost their job as a result of his theft.

“He was clearly planning for a comfortable future but now, thanks to our investigations and due to his own incessant greed, it will be anything but.

“He will most likely have to sell all possessions of any worth in order to meet the confiscation order and once released from prison will have to contend with having a criminal record as well as not having a penny to his name.”

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