A Sytner Group BMW parts manager has avoided jail after he admitted defrauding the top AM100 car retail group of £62,000 in a refund scam.
Richard Aston (aged 37), of Langford Avenue, Great Barr, paid refunds into the bank accounts of a friend, his brother-in-law and his wife, during a year of offending between March 2018 and 2019, Birmingham Live reported.
Prosecutor Darron Whitehead told Birmingham Crown Court that Aston had worked at Sytner BMW Birmingham as a parts supervisor since 2008 but gained responsibility for managing employees, stock control and authorising refunds when he was promoted in 2015.
An internal investigation later uncovered screenshots – captured by a work colleague – in which Aston which alluded to his “admission of guilt” and “acknowledgement of how much money he had taken”, the court heard.
Aston pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud by abuse of position.
Birmingham Live reported that Mukhtiar Ubhi, mitigating, had said that his client had been battling mental health issues had called for a psychological assessment.
But no further mitigation was offered after Judge Roderick Henderson indicated he would not be sending Aston to prison immediately.
Judge Henderson described Aston as a person of previous good character who had “worked for a significant time honestly”, adding: “If there is a case for a suspended sentence, this is it.”
Aston was handed two-year jail sentence suspended for the same period, ordered to repay the full £62,320 and also carry out 30 days of rehabilitation and 120 hours of unpaid work.