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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Dear Solicitor, I used to work largish media

Customer Question

Dear Solicitor, I used to work for a largish media company. While there I performed very well, selling advertising for a magazine. I went on to develop a new offering via video. I was never rewarded for the idea behind it. I started selling almost exclusively video, as opposed to the print, as well as doing all the production for the video. My video offering was very successful, but in order for my direct bosses to be awarded their bonus's for hitting targets, on the booking form it was put as an advert in the magazine, with a free video. The way the company works is you are paid commission the end of the following month, and the people who are booked are typically invoiced either in June or January, when the magazine goes to print. I usually offered clients a free advert, which would then be printed in the magazine. as we only invoice once the product gets delivered, I would have to tell finance not to chase the invoice, until I tell them I have delivered the video. I complained to the MD of our division about my work load, but said I can't not focus on delivery as no one else would be able to do it, but it's going to have a massive impact on my sales and my earnings if I'm not focused on selling more videos, which in turn would have a massive impact on his bonus for hitting target at the end of the year (much more then my commission) Together we came up with an way to exploit a loophole I discovered months earlier. I would create a new website domain and email address for potential clients, where I would say I booked say IBM using a similar domain, and using a electronic booking form, with the idea that in 2015, once I have deliver on production, we can slowly cancel these orders and I can go back to selling, which is what was done for 6 months, resulting in "false" bookings of around £200,000, with around £20,000 amount of commission for me and my boss hitting target and getting his bonus. However, we had to have a "free" advert in the magazine so we created false adverts. I was not happy about this, but was done anyway. I decided to leave the company this year to start my own company where I can do things right and properly, however my MD has now turned around and denies any knowledge of the false booking forms! I don't have any eveidence as was never discussed on email, only on phone and face to face I feel I have two options, firstly going to the police and admitting to my wrong doing -I'm not sure what laws I have broken doing this, but I don't know what my MD would do. He has made a lot of money doing this. The downside is a lot of people may loose their jobs as the division would likley be shut down. The other option is to carry on pretending to be the "false clients" and paying the bookings myself over the next 18 months by taking out a mortgage on my house? What would you recommend or is their a third option? I feel very ashamed over this, but the only victim was the company itself. My new company is doing very well, and I just want this to be over - I haven't told my wife about the arrangement I had with my MD, but we're expecting our first child and I cannot loose the house or go to jail. Please advise

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Alex Watts :

What is the current situation?

Alex Watts :

Have you been investigated by the Police or are you likely to?

Alex Watts :

Please note it may be tomorrow when I respond given the late hour.

Alex Watts :

Thanks for your patience and I will try to help during this stressful time

Alex Watts :

Are you able to respond please so we can speak?

JACUSTOMER-6f5307m1- :

Hi Alex, sorry for the delay, was away last week,

JACUSTOMER-6f5307m1- :

I am currently working for my new company which I also own. Currently, the only people aware of the situation is my MD and myself. I have not been investigated by the police and I believe I am unlikely too.

JACUSTOMER-6f5307m1- :

I have fund coming into my company relatively constantly, and still have access to the emails from the bogus deals, so can arrange the products to be delivered and pay with cash to legitimise the deals - would you advise on this?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello, Did you get my responses?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Did respond but think I did it in the Chat and didn't come through!

I'm currently working for a company that I own. Very few funds at the moment, but enough coming in over next few months to cover the outgoing of paying the cost of each video per month.

I have not been investigated by the police, and I think this is unlikely.

What would be my best/worst case senario? Would you advise I maintain the farce of being the buyers at the other end of the email and pay up via cash deposited in the old companies account? My direct manager had no idea about this

Thanks

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
What is it you want to achieve please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I want to be in a position where my old company can't press legal charges for Fraud

I don't care about my MD, I don;t care about the money to me , I want to keep my house, and have a clean record

Thank yoi

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
What is YOUR loss? Have you reported this to the Police?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No I havn't

I was a part of the scam, and received about 30K in commission from the bogus deals. The plan was for the MD to slowly cancel the deals, but he's now just denying any involvement as there is nothing physical to link him to it (apart from his big bonus!)

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Did you know it was a scam, I assume so?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I did yes - my own short sightedness to get involved in it

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Sadly you need to be very careful. If you make a complain to the Police about fraud then it is likely you get investigated too.
If you do and you know you are involved then you could be charged as well. I assume this is not what you want. You can't really take it to Court because again you don't want a Judge to make a final of dishonesty and have the file referred to the Police.
The Court can make a finding of fraud and refer the matter to the Attorney General for prosecution. So you need to tread carefully. There is a well known phrase saying in Equity that he who comes to Court must do so with clean hands.
In this case you do not have clean hands. If you rock the boat then you risk end up being in trouble and potentially in custody. You could offer to consider making good the £30,000 loss but that leaves you out of pocket.
However what I would consider is that once the £30,000 has been cancelled off then and only then contact the authorities as you are not involved in further fraud.
I realise this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you - no it's completely my fault and my own greed.

What about maintaining the charade that these are genuine deals to the production people concerned, and got to the bank and pay in cash using on the reference the invoice number, and pay off the total value of the deals (around £200K odd) over the course of the year.

This way I am out of pocket, which is what I deserve, the company is not out of profit, and the entire situation can be kept out of the authorities hands?

I am able to do this, but only in the long term, so it would involve keeping up the charade so I could transfer 15-20k a month

Is this a good idea?

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
I agree, its fraud. You can issue proceedings if you want, but you risk a counter claim or a finding of fraud.
It is a risk. If you issue there is always a RISK the Court will order that the Police investigate. You can't avoid that.
Or you can try and mediate a settlement. That is confidential and keeps it out of Court.
Does that help?
Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

It does yes...

... so if I carried on the Charade, would that be essentially implementing myself further, but at the same time I would be sending funds to the main company?

i.e. If I come clean with the company/ or they find out somehow, would it be worse later on in your experiance

What I am worried about are a few things in mediating a settlement:



  1. The company just knee jerking and going to the police

  2. The MD putting it all on my to keep himself out of the firing line


Thanks

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
... so if I carried on the Charade, would that be essentially implementing myself further, but at the same time I would be sending funds to the main company?
Yes
i.e. If I come clean with the company/ or they find out somehow, would it be worse later on in your experiance
You could risk custody yes.
What I am worried about are a few things in mediating a settlement:
The company just knee jerking and going to the police
The MD putting it all on my to keep himself out of the firing line
Mediation is confidential, they can't just go to the Police. The MD can try but you have the evidence he is not out of the firing line.
Of course you could Whistleblow to the Police. As you were working there if illegal activity is going on the Police won't approve of it. The difficulty is if you have left and set up your own business. if you were still an employee it would be ok.
Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

... Dammit... Part of the reason i left was because it seemed like It was going to come out and all be placed on me...Wish i had stayed now...

I feel I have two choices:

Maintain the charade and when invoices are due sent the funds across...

or...

...Come clean into Mediation, which my gut is saying the company will be pissed and hang em out to dry. Aside from the figures I don't have access to any emails, not sure if there were any in fact, so there is no evidence against my MD

My gut is saying to go with the first option, as it is a particularly mercenary company - what would you advise between these two?

Lastly, as no police etc are involved currently, for safety would you advise I transfer ownership of the house to my wife?

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Well whilst I am not saying blackmail you have a lot of information on the Company. I am sure they wont want it to go to Court.
You can transfer ownership - but the Courts could transfer it back.
I would come clean at mediation.
Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thansk- so just rot be clear you recommend mediation ?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you - just to be clear, you recommend Mediation.

What role/person would be the best person to explain the situation to at the company?

Would transferring ownership of the house be worth it?

Oh and also, worst case senario? Would I be looking at jail time? fines?

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Mediation preferable.
I wouldn't bother transferring house. You could risk jail.
Alex
Ash and 4 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks Alex - Fines more likely then jail worst case senario

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
For £20,000 likely to be custody.
Alex
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Hi

I am just following up on this. Is there anything else I can help with? If so, please let me know.

Alex.