Fraudulent accountant from Darlington stole to fund his gambling habit

Darlington and Stockton Times: Expecting jail: Lee Philip Hammond Expecting jail: Lee Philip Hammond

AN accountant fleeced investors and his employers of almost £540,000 to help meet his gambling addiction.

Lee Philip Hammond was today (Monday February 25) told to expect to be jailed when he returns to court to be sentenced next month.

Durham Crown Court heard that the 30-year-old fraudster effectively pocketed £54,600 donated by three investors to an accountancy business he was running, between October 2008 and January 2010.

He then stole £411,305.60 from Shildon and Sedgefield Development Agency, and after a merger, £73,437.50 from the newly-formed South Durham Enterprise Agency, in July 2010.

While those crimes were being investigated he was bailed.

Despite being under investigation, he took £1,957.91 and tried to steal a further £3,750 from Town and City Management Ltd, in both cases after creating false invoices.

Scott Smith, mitigating, said some of the money was made through the supposed sale of accountancy software packages which did not exist, all of which went on gambling.

Mr Smith said the defence team has had a psychologist’s report drawn up following consultation with Hammond, particularly looking into his gambling addiction.

“He’s of previous good character, and he made a full confession, effectively handing himself in.

“We have obtained details of his gambling addiction and I think the court, in considering sentence, would also be assisted by a pre-sentence report prepared by the Probation Service.

“Some of the fraud, certainly from the confusion beneath all this, appears to be from what is a very profitable little business.

“It involved shares in the company, a company which was, effectively, the defendant.

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“Investors, effectively, got a share in the company but he stole from the company and he doesn’t seek to challenge that.”

Hammond, 30, of Beadnell Close, Darlington, today (Monday February 25) admitted five counts of fraud, three of theft and one of attempted theft.

Judge Christopher Prince adjourned sentence, pending preparation of the probation background report on Hammond.

Mr Smith said: “He’s been on bail and it’s unconditional. I would ask for that to be extended.

“He’s aware of the sentence that will follow.”

Addressing Hammond, Judge Prince said: “I’ll extend your bail until sentence.

“Go away and put your affairs in order before you come to court. You know when you return here you must expect to receive a custodial sentence.”

Judge Prince added that he would also like victim impact statements from all those who lost money at Hammond’s hands, ready for the day of sentence, on March 22.

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Comments (12)

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10:23am Tue 26 Feb 13

Homshaw1 says...

How can Sedgefield & Shildon developmemt Corporation not notice such a large sum was missing?

It is sorely needed money given the state of the economy

The guy is a disgrace
How can Sedgefield & Shildon developmemt Corporation not notice such a large sum was missing? It is sorely needed money given the state of the economy The guy is a disgrace Homshaw1
  • Score: -2

11:14am Tue 26 Feb 13

Apalled says...

This guy is a low life.
He stole not only from his companies but also from his friends.
Addiction or not he should be jailed.
This guy is a low life. He stole not only from his companies but also from his friends. Addiction or not he should be jailed. Apalled
  • Score: 7

2:04pm Tue 26 Feb 13

Pravda2013 says...

They didn't notice as he was putting it back.

But that wouldn't make a good news story would it...
They didn't notice as he was putting it back. But that wouldn't make a good news story would it... Pravda2013
  • Score: -6

3:06pm Tue 26 Feb 13

Homshaw1 says...

Pravda2013 wrote:
They didn't notice as he was putting it back.

But that wouldn't make a good news story would it...
OK so update us.

Did he steal anything or was it all returned?
[quote][p][bold]Pravda2013[/bold] wrote: They didn't notice as he was putting it back. But that wouldn't make a good news story would it...[/p][/quote]OK so update us. Did he steal anything or was it all returned? Homshaw1
  • Score: 5

3:18pm Tue 26 Feb 13

Eddie P says...

The true measure of his character is that once he was caught and bailed, he by his own admission continued to commit crime in the full knowlege of what he was doing and the terrible impact it has had and probably continues to have on others.
He didnt hand himself in he only owned up because he was "bang to rights" and could not do anything else.
The true measure of his character is that once he was caught and bailed, he by his own admission continued to commit crime in the full knowlege of what he was doing and the terrible impact it has had and probably continues to have on others. He didnt hand himself in he only owned up because he was "bang to rights" and could not do anything else. Eddie P
  • Score: 9

3:33pm Tue 26 Feb 13

Apalled says...

What he could never repay is the trust and friendship he took.
What he could never repay is the trust and friendship he took. Apalled
  • Score: 2

4:11pm Tue 26 Feb 13

Homshaw1 says...

Why did it need £55K to set up an accountancy business?

We are talking a few desks and computers. The business revolves around knowledge
Why did it need £55K to set up an accountancy business? We are talking a few desks and computers. The business revolves around knowledge Homshaw1
  • Score: 3

8:30am Wed 27 Feb 13

oscarthelaird says...

He just forgot to put all of it back
Well over £500k of taxpayers money. Several people loosing their jobs.
He just forgot to put all of it back Well over £500k of taxpayers money. Several people loosing their jobs. oscarthelaird
  • Score: 2

8:36am Wed 27 Feb 13

Über Appalled says...

He was probably just about to 'give it all back' until he saw a dead cert in the 3.30 at Kempton.

People losing their jobs as a result of this is shocking. Someone above said low-life; that's about spot on.
He was probably just about to 'give it all back' until he saw a dead cert in the 3.30 at Kempton. People losing their jobs as a result of this is shocking. Someone above said low-life; that's about spot on. Über Appalled
  • Score: 2

11:00am Wed 27 Feb 13

Homshaw1 says...

The people who put money into this accountancy business also strike me as a little daft.

Did they never asked why he needed over £50K or ask what he was doing with it?

If there was a business that relied on his skills why would he share the rewards with others?

I rather suspect his motivation was not that honest from the outset
The people who put money into this accountancy business also strike me as a little daft. Did they never asked why he needed over £50K or ask what he was doing with it? If there was a business that relied on his skills why would he share the rewards with others? I rather suspect his motivation was not that honest from the outset Homshaw1
  • Score: 2

12:15pm Wed 27 Feb 13

hottopic says...

He's wrong, he will be jailed.... I think were issing the bigger picture here....
Gambling.... It sounds as though they have proved the majority has been used for gambling. This is a massive problem in society. They reckon that 1% of people are compulsive gamblers, looking at the impact of this. If each compulsive gambler affects on average 5 people through this addiction (probably more if you take into consideration, family colleagues etc.) then thats atleast 6% of the population. This is a social problem which will never be tackled as the tax revenue from the bookmakers is huge. Probably 97% of people will think this is tosh as they won't understand or have been that badly affected by gambling (ie. vitim of fraud) but still just blame the person (which is understandable), the other 3% are the actual compulsive gamblers and those who have seen someone change because of gambling (just like one would with drugs) and can apportion a change on character because of it. Many consider it an illness including medical professionals. This is why when even bang to rights someone would carryon trying to fund a habbit. Irrational behaviour, irrational because of an addiction. Most addicitions ruin lives and families, the bigger picture is that gambling is not good for society.
He's wrong, he will be jailed.... I think were issing the bigger picture here.... Gambling.... It sounds as though they have proved the majority has been used for gambling. This is a massive problem in society. They reckon that 1% of people are compulsive gamblers, looking at the impact of this. If each compulsive gambler affects on average 5 people through this addiction (probably more if you take into consideration, family colleagues etc.) then thats atleast 6% of the population. This is a social problem which will never be tackled as the tax revenue from the bookmakers is huge. Probably 97% of people will think this is tosh as they won't understand or have been that badly affected by gambling (ie. vitim of fraud) but still just blame the person (which is understandable), the other 3% are the actual compulsive gamblers and those who have seen someone change because of gambling (just like one would with drugs) and can apportion a change on character because of it. Many consider it an illness including medical professionals. This is why when even bang to rights someone would carryon trying to fund a habbit. Irrational behaviour, irrational because of an addiction. Most addicitions ruin lives and families, the bigger picture is that gambling is not good for society. hottopic
  • Score: 0

12:22pm Wed 27 Feb 13

Apalled says...

I here what you saying, however, rightly or wrongly, gambling, in its self, is not illegal.
Stealing, from friends and colleagues, is.
I here what you saying, however, rightly or wrongly, gambling, in its self, is not illegal. Stealing, from friends and colleagues, is. Apalled
  • Score: 4

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