Rugby bookkeeper swindles couple out of thousands

Andrew Brough
Andrew Brough

A former Rugby bookkeeper who has clocked up almost £300,000 worth of frauds over the last 15 years is back in prison after tricking a couple out of their retirement money.

Andrew Brough, aged 49, who used to live in Rugby but now lives on Eaves Street in Blackpool, was jailed for sentences totalling six-and-a-half years after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to three charges of fraud.

Prosecutor Michael Williams said Brough’s main victims were a man who worked on off-shore oil rigs and his wife who had invested in seven properties which they rented out.

The court heard how the couple had set up a property services business from their home to manage the properties, and when they realised they needed help with the bookkeeping, someone recommended Brough.

In 2010 the wife mentioned she was thinking of making some investments and Brough, sent her emails persuading her not to go to ‘a stranger,’ claiming he could provide a better service.

In November 2010 the wife gave him £5,000 to invest and over the next three years the couple gave a further £92,000 from their business and £29,000 of their own money. The also recommended a friend who handed over £15,000.

In 2013 the couple became concerned when Brough repeatedly tried to dissuade them from withdraw some of the money.

When it became clear he could not stall any longer, Brough got in touch with Action Fraud, claiming he had been the victim of a fraud by a company called Elite Investments with whom he claimed to have invested his victims’ money.

The court heard how most of the money had gone on gambling and to pay for luxury holidays.

Simon Hunka, defending, said that when he started working for the couple, Brough was not gambling, but a number of things happened in his life which created a stressful situation and, as he had done before, he returned to gambling.

Brough’s previous convictions included thefts from employers, fraud, forgery and false accounting.

Mr Williams said Brough’s benefit from his latest frauds was £134,000 but he only had £23,750 available assets and Judge Andrew Lockhart QC ordered that amount to be confiscated and used to pay compensation, with Brough facing a further three years in jail in default of payment within 28 days.

Jailing Brough, Judge Lockhart QC told him: “Throughout your life you have wreaked untold misery on a large number of people. You have been a thief throughout the course of your whole career.

“This offending has had a huge impact on three people, two of whom were making proper and prudent provisions for their retirement; and it is with great sadness that the court hears they have separated.

“Only a long custodial sentence can be justified, and there must be consecutive sentences for each offence.”