A hotel manager scammed 50 of his employees out of £470,000 in a large scale fraud operation.
Michael Stainer, 74, gave his staff at The Grand fake and misleading payslips showing ‘proof’ that they made income tax and national insurance contributions.
But a court heard the fraudster instead pocketed the cash and used it to pay the mortgages for apartments within the Grade-II listed building in Folkestone, Kent – which was once frequented by the Royal Family.
Stainer was jailed for three years at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday (July 7) for two counts of cheating the public revenue and one count of fraud by false representation between 2011 and 2015.
During the trial Stainer, a qualified accountant, accepted the money was not paid to HMRC but told jurors he kept the money as he did not want his employees to lose their jobs.
But Judge Gregory Perrins said: “It’s clear to me you did not think about the impact this was having on your employees at all.
“You were deliberately deceiving them as to what was happening with their wages as they all assumed PAYE and National Insurance was being paid in the normal way and you must have known this was not the case.
“You put each of them at significant risk of a large tax liability once the cheat was uncovered, as well as putting their state pension at risk.
“You took a conscious risk with their financial security in order to keep your business afloat.
“You knew what poor shape The Grand was in financially, yet you continued for years doing all you could to keep the Revenue at arms length rather than accepting the reality of the situation – something you should have done a long time ago.”