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A former managing director from Leeds who targeted Greater Manchester businesses and fraudulently spent over £70k in company funds has been jailed for five years.
Kirk Whitehead (05/07/1980), of Kirkgate, Sherburn-in-Elmet, was sentenced on Thursday 11 November at Stafford Crown Court after pleading guilty to 11 fraud offences. He was also banned as a company director for 12-and-a-half years.
Whitehead - who was found to have used aliases of Lawson and Lawson-Whitehead so he could go, detectives believe, undetected when setting up other businesses - pleaded guilty to the following offences:
- Eight counts of fraud by false representation relating to five companies;
- Three counts of fraud by abuse of position in relation to one of these companies.
The court heard how Whitehead used a false CV to obtain a managing director job at Bolton-based electric supplies company Homespares in August 2015. Once in the position he claimed a series of business expenses that he was not entitled to.
While working for the company, Whitehead not only used his business card to go on lavish holidays, take his family out to local restaurants, and take friends on a trip to York races; but also used his company card before proceeding to claim the expenses back a second time by submitting the receipts as business expenses.
While in the job, between August 2015 and May 2017 Whitehead also set up multiple other companies which registered him as one of the owners and used one of these on documents whilst representing Homespares.
A theme of Whitehead's offending was to build up contacts while already in work so he could bypass the need for qualifications when going for high-profile roles.
He then went on to work for another Greater Manchester business called Qualtrex - whom he had been in contact with while at Homespares - where he continued his fraudulent activity.
Following his employment with these two companies, Kirk Whitehead attempted to obtain further employment as a managing director by submitting a further false CV which was almost successful, although this was identified prior to him starting this employment.
When obtaining his next job at Nordic Lifts, police became aware of Whitehead after his malpractices were discovered by one of the previous companies he had set up following an internal investigation.
Despite this, he continued to commit fraud by submitting false expenses and retaining money in his bank account that belonged to the company.
Following a criminal investigation and court appearances for these offences, he again submitted a false CV to another party in a bid to try and secure further employment, before he was finally convicted and jailed.
Detective Constable Nicola Veitch Lancaster, of GMP's Economic & Cyber Crime unit, said: "Kirk Whitehead's dreadful actions caused great distress to his victims. He caused a great deal of misery for so many people connected to the companies he conned, and threatened anyone who challenged him.
"Whitehead would worm his way in and leave behind a trail of destruction, and he has shown no remorse for the lives he has impacted.
"Even when he was under investigation, he found new employment and continued to commit fraud to benefit himself at the detriment of the companies he worked for.
"My sympathy goes out to his victims and I hope he spends his time behind bars reflecting on the awful consequences of his actions."