An ITV finance manager who hired a recovering Manchester drug addict to con the broadcaster out of £140,000 was jailed for three-and-a-half years today.
Darren Smith, 38, of Leeds, and Steven Marsden, 48, of Manchester, created bogus invoices worth upwards of £7,000 to steal thousands from the company across two years.
Dad-of-two Smith – who pocketed a £58,000 salary – worked for ITV Yorkshire, Tyne Tees and Border and created the fictitious company to help pay off his £800,000 property portfolio.
But after ITV bosses became suspicious and raised the alarm, he was arrested for fraud and slapped with a three-and-a-half-year prison term – Marsden was jailed for two years.
Prosecuting lawyer Ian Mullarkey said: “Smith exploited his knowledge of the internal workings of the accountancy system at ITV and paid for services which had never even been provided.”
The offenders initially denied ever knowing eachother outside of a working environment but Leeds Crown Court heard how they were linked and planned to defraud the national broadcaster.
Judge James Spencer QC told Smith: “This was a repeated act of criminality. Not only did you go to the extent of recruiting Marsden but you sent false invoices and then you made a fictitious company and put through invoices.
“The most severe aspect of your case is the breach of trust involved and the amounts involved.”
He then told Marsden: “You were a ready participant in these frauds. It could not have worked without you.”