A FRAUDSTER bought more than £70k worth of Apple products in his company’s name in order to sell them on and make a profit.

Shaun Robinson fraudulently purchased 12 iPhones, four iPads and 26 Apple Macbook Pro laptops while working at United Utilities in Great Sankey.

The 53-year-old has appeared before the courts previously for a ‘strikingly similar’ conviction which involved the theft of almost £250,000 from a former company he worked for.

Robinson was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to fraud by false representation.

Keith Sutton, prosecuting, said how the offence took place from January 2019 to November 2020.

During this time, Robinson was ordering various Apple products under the company’s name.

Some were shipped to the head office for the attention of himself, while others were directly delivered to his home address.

In October 2020 and November 2020, a manager questioned Robinson, of Salford, about the invoices but he was unable to give a ‘satisfactory’ explanation.

These suspicions led to an internal investigation as the level of purchases made by Robinson exceeded the normal amount.

His emails were examined and several suspicious emails were identified.

Some of these referenced putting items on sale as well as ‘fudging’ figures – they evidenced he was altering invoices and his attempts to obscure.

The court heard how over the 22-month period, Robinson had ordered 42 items whereas the normal amount for the company would usually be in between eight and 10.

Robinson admitted buying the items and taking them to cash generator shops to sell, he also admitted selling some on online selling sites.

Liverpool Crown Court

Liverpool Crown Court

He was dismissed from the Warrington firm for gross misconduct.

The fraudster claimed he committed the offence to raise money for his ex-partner who had gambling debts and mental health issues.

Mr Whitehurst told the court that Robinson has a previous conviction for theft which he previously served a prison term for.

This consisted of him arranging false invoices and forging signatures to receive payments straight into his account, totalling £244k.

Defending, Ian Whitehurst said that the only thing he can say is that Robinson pleaded guilty and co-operated with the investigation.

He said: “He has apologised and evidenced remorse.

“He has yet again lost it all after building his life back up following his last conviction.”

Mr Whitehurst also told the court how the defendant has ‘delicate’ physical and mental health.

Concluding, recorder Graham Wells said: “You obtained over £72,000 of goods, without VAT, in the name of your company which you worked in a position of responsibility and trust.

“You changed documents, altered them and did steps to cover your tracks.

“You should have known, you do not steal.

“You do not defraud your company.”

Judge Wells said the fraud was ‘sophisticated’ and ‘sustained’ but said Robinson’s sentence would be reduced due to his medical problems.

Robinson was handed two years behind bars.