Man defrauded wine company in £6k theft, court told

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A man who defrauded a leading wine company and its customers to the tune of more of £6,000 has been given a suspended nine month prison sentence.

Philip John Wylie (47), of Castlecat Road, Ballymoney, admitted fraud and theft charges, when he appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court.

The facts of the case were not outlined in court but the charges state that Wylie, while occupying a position in which he was expected to safeguard the financial interests of Pieroth Limited, dishonestly abused that position by using existing customers’ credit card details to place orders for wine for new customers who had already paid money to the defendant.

He also admitted stealing £6,238.50 in money as well as wine to the value of £568.12 from Pieroth, on dates between May 13 and October 23, 2013.

Wylie’s barrister Aaron Thompson described his client’s offending as “a despicable breach of trust”.

Mr Thompson said Wylie’s actions meant he had lost “his employment, his good character and his marriage”.

“This brought a significant amount of shame to him and his family.

“For someone of previously good character, he has totally blotted his copybook and ruined his prospects,” added Mr Thompson.

District Judge Peter King said: “It is quite clear that the custody threshold has been well and truly crossed.”

However, the judge added that the fact that Wylie had made efforts to repay the money meant that he could suspend the operation of the prison sentence for two years.

Making a compensation order for the outstanding figure of £3,981.19, the judge told Wylie: “I rather suspect the sentence of this court is the least of your worries, given your personal circumstances.”