A senior bookkeeper’s gambling and drinking led him to embezzle over £221,000 from six Scottish sporting estates over a five-year period.
Matthew Varley was working for CKD Galbraith’s Inverness office where he was responsible for keeping the books for the unnamed landowners.
But Inverness Sheriff Court was told that between September 2010 and June 2015, he was transferring funds into his own account and falsifying the books to cover up his crimes.
Yesterday, 44-year-old Varley, of Cranmore Drive, Smithton admitted a charge of embezzlement and sentence was deferred until April 9 for a background report.
His bail was continued.
Sheriff David Sutherland was told by defence lawyer Matthew O’Neill that all the funds had since been repaid after his client sold a property in London.
He also asked the Sheriff to call for a restriction of liberty assessment on Varley, who joined the firm of estate agents in September 2010.
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Fiscal depute Robert Weir told the court that Varley had sole authority to access the bank accounts of the six estates, although he had responsibility for twelve.
“Between October 3, 2011 and June 11, 2015, 106 transactions were carried out whereby money was transferred from seven client accounts to a bank account held by the accused and his wife.
“On June 12, 2015, he left CKD Galbraith and shortly afterwards the discrepancies were identified.”
Mr Weir said entries were recorded on the company’s accounts system but had no supporting paperwork. The details of the accounts the money had been paid into had also been deleted.
He added that fictitious invoices had been inputted to the accounts software.
“Inquiries with the Royal Bank of Scotland to identify the beneficiary account showed it was not linked to any estate supplier. But the details of the account holder were not provided by the RBS and Galbraith later craved a civil warrant to identify that the account was held by the accused.” Mr Weir added.
The court heard that when Varley was challenged by Galbraith, he stated that he was responsible for carrying out the transfers, attributing it to his gambling and drinking problems, as well as depression.
Varley was reported to police in December, 2015 but it was 17 months later before he was charged.