Riccardo Sorice, a former employee of Bradford-based AV-supplier Pro Audio Systems Ltd who stole over £650k from the company, must sell his CD collection to help pay back £90,000 of the debt, a court has ruled.
According to a report in the West-Yorkshire-based Telegraph & Argus (www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk) Sorice, 59, currently serving a five-year sentence for the theft, returned to Bradford Crown Court on 22 August for a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Roger Thomas QC, has ordered Sorice to pay back £90,381, the sum total of his available assets. Heather Gilmore, for the Crown, said the money would come from real estate and the sale of Sorice’s 20,000-strong CD collection. The father-of-two was given three months to raise the money or face a further 12 months in jail, reports the Telegraph & Argus.
In March of this year, Bradford Crown Court heard that during a “sophisticated and long-running fraud” between February 2008 and February 2015, account manager Sorice stole an average of £100,000 a year from AV equipment supplier Pro Audio Systems .
With convictions for offences against previous employers in 1999 and 2003, Sorice suffered from a “compulsive disorder”. Approximately £60,000 of the stolen money had been spent on the CDs.
The defendant started working for Pro Audio Systems in February 2008 and was treated as “one of the family”.
Prosecutor Alisha Kaye told the court Sorice’s salary rose to £35,000 while he worked for the firm.
Sorice pleaded guilty to defrauding the company last December but his defence lawyer, Graham Arnold, said the case did not involve a lavish lifestyle.
Mr Arnold said Sorice’s family had lived in a modest property for 16 years and where the money had gone was a “mystery” and described his client as being almost “like a child”.
Jailing Sorice for five years, Recorder of Bradford Judge Roger Thomas QC said he had held a position of trust at his company and he had told them a “total lie” about his previous jail sentence in 2008.
The Telegraph & Argus reports that Pro Audio Systems’ director Brian Lumb, in a statement to the court, said the financial impact of Sorice’s deception had been “quite staggering”.
“It is all very hard to take in. He completely betrayed the trust of the company,” said Lumb. “Every day he was smiling, while stripping the company of money.”
The 20,000 CDs were “never used”, it is claimed, while what the rest of the cash was spent on remains unknown.
(Additional reporting: Charlotte Court. Pic credit: Ross Parry Agency Ltd)