Electrical firm worker accused of defrauding Preston employers

Crown Court
Crown Court

The director of a Preston electrical firm broke down in tears at the trial of his former employee who is accused of defrauding him.

Graham Ormiston spoke at the trial of a workman who allegedly used contractors and materials - paid for through his firm's accounts - for his own gain.

Contracts manager Andrew Akers, 48, from Preston Old Road, Blackburn, is accused of using company materials while working for Ormistons Electrical contractors in Preston, exposing them to a risk of loss.

Akers, who has been an employee at the firm from 1990 to 2007, and again from 2011, is accused of five counts of fraud by dishonestly making a false representation over a period between April 2011 and December 2014, at Preston.

It is alleged he purchased goods from Holland House electrical wholesalers for himself, using Ormiston's accounts, in a fraud amounting to £600.

Mr Ormiston told jurors Akers was among a number of contract managers within the firm who had responsibility for pricing work, and securing the best prices at the wholesalers for the equipment.

He became distressed when telling jurors he had been forced to take a back seat after suffering a stroke in 2011

He said: "I've known Andrew many years. Andrew used to drive for a wholesalers we use delivering goods to our office, so he had a good knowledge of the goods going in and out of the wholesalers.

"I needed somebody to look after the stores, somebody who would know what the different electrical products were and somebody that was keen to do a good job.

"He was always good and always very obliging throughout his employment and he just appeared to want to better himself all the time.

"He knew, like anybody else knew, that they were not allowed to go to the wholesalers to book equipment for anything they would be doing outside their employment, whether at home or for anyone they were friends with.

"If they were going to buy equipment like that I'm sure there's other ways of paying for it like a credit card, cash or cheque, but I had nothing to do with jobs these individuals were considering doing outside my employment. You just can't put yourself in that position."

He broke down as he told the court he had suffered a stroke in 2011 leaving him unable to go to work, and had later become aware of his wife employing an independent person to do an internal investigation into invoices and jobs.

(proceeding)