The former manager of a Haslemere funeral directors has been sentenced to 22 months in prison and ordered to pay £500 in compensation after pleading guilty to eight counts of fraud against his employers.
Sean Jeffery, 44, of Sarus Place, Cranleigh, was sentenced on Friday July 11, after pleading guilty to the fraud charges when he appeared at Guildford Crown Court on 30 June.
Jeffery, who was the manager of the Haslemere branch of Alan Greenwood and Sons Funeral Directors, defrauded his employers between September 2012 and August 2013 by fraudulently altering invoices and pocketing thousands of pounds in payments.
He also pleaded guilty to a further count of fraud by promoting his own memorial service in favour of the one offered by his employers, resulting in him receiving thousands of pounds in payment for a service that he was not permitted to provide.
After he was caught by his bosses, he contacted one of the victims of the memorial service fraud and threatened to take down a tablet he had provided if he did not receive full payment for his services.
The full extent of his fraudulent activity came to light when he went on holiday and a temporary branch manager was appointed in his place. She discovered a cheque which had been made payable to him and brought it to the attention of her employers.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Paul Harris said: “Sean Jeffery has repeatedly and persistently defrauded his employers over several months.
“In total his dishonesty has cost Alan Greenwood and Sons in excess of £20,000 as they have honoured all of his fraudulent activity and have not sought further payment from any of the bereaved families.
“His offending came to light when he went on holiday and the temporary branch manager discovered that he had told a family who had booked a funeral to make the cheque directly payable to him. Further investigation revealed the full extent of his offending which, I am sure, would have continued had he not been found out.”
DC Harris added: “As soon as we were made aware of Jeffery’s fraudulent activity, we launched a thorough investigation which culminated in Jeffery pleading guilty to all nine offences. The sentence given to him today reflects the seriousness of his offending and demonstrates our commitment to investigating this type of fraud.
“His employers did not hesitate in taking action once they discovered what he had been up to, sending a clear message that they will not allow any theft or fraudulent activity against the firm to go unpunished.”