Former navy officer jailed for defrauding Leeds firm of almost £75,000

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A FORMER Royal Navy officer who stole almost £75,000 from the Leeds firm where he was office manager has been jailed for two years.

Colin Rippon abused the trust placed in him and fleeced Eco Control Solutions of the cash which he blew on a five-star luxury holiday to Dubai and bought designer clothes for himself and his wife.

Leeds Crown Court heard the company’s managing director had trusted Rippon to run the firm’s finances and felt “disgusted and embarrassed” at the way he had been duped.

Father-of-two Rippon, 45, carried out the offences over a 19-month period between October 2012 and May 2014.

Alisha Kaye, prosecuting, said Rippon had control of company bank accounts and credit cards. The offending involved him altering business invoices so they contained his own bank account details so he would be paid the money instead of his employer.

On one occasion he made a company cheque out to himself and asked the director to sign it. Miss Kaye said that incident came to the attention of his boss and Rippon was sacked.

An investigation was then carried out and it was revealed he had altered documents on 49 separate occasions.

Rippon was arrested and told police officers he had carried out the offences as he needed extra money on a monthly basis for “living expenses.”

He then admitted that most of the money had been spent.

He said it had gone on paying for a five star holiday to Dubai, designer clothing and paying off his wife’s debts.

Rippon, of Matterdale Close, Hanging Heaton, pleaded guilty to six offences of fraud.

Ilyas Patel, mitigating, said: “He is an utterly petrified 45-year-old family man. He knows he has done wrong. He makes no excuse.”

“He systematically fleeced them at an austere time when any company can ill-afford to lose income so sizable over such a sustained period as this.

“Living way beyond his means cannot justify him putting his hands into someone else’s till. He is under no illusions as to the seriousness of his position.”

Mr Patel said Rippon had completed an exemplary 24-year career in the Royal Navy before working for the company.

The barrister said the offence lacked sophistication. He added: “The paper trail and the smoking gun was always going to lead back to him.”

The court heard Rippon had managed to find a job in a warehouse earning the minimum wage since his dismissal from the firm.

Jailing Rippon, judge James spencer, QC, said: “You abused the trust that was placed in you over a long period. You are guilty of repeated and fraudulent acts of dishonesty.”