A husband and wife whose lavish lifestyle included luxury holidays, new cars and a £517,000 house with a hot spring and exercise pool have been warned that they face prison.
Julie Nickerson, 55, of Shelf, near Halifax, funded years of high living by stealing £2.3m from her employers and yesterday her 48-year-old husband Anthony admitted a money-laundering charge in relation to just under half of the cash.
Anthony Nickerson, who had been due to stand trial at Bradford Crown Court, pleaded guilty to transferring and concealing just under £925,000 between July 2009 and December 2012.
Nickerson entered his plea after Recorder Anthony Hawks indicated that he would face a maximum jail sentence of two-and-a-half years if he admitted the offence.
The couple, who previously ran a newsagents and general store in Wade House Road, Shelf, were told that they would both be sentenced on May 2.
Julie Nickerson, who broke down in tears as she sat in the public gallery, admitted stealing the huge sum of money from Halifax-based JLA Ltd at a previous hearing last December.
She had worked for the company, which supplies commercial laundry equipment, since 1990 and during her employment in the accounts and finance department she stole the cash over a seven-year period beginning in 2005.
It was after Nickerson was made redundant in December 2012 that the theft of the money was discovered.
In June 2007 the couple moved into Wainstalls House which was valued at £517,000 and set in five acres of land.
Significant sums were spent furnishing and improving the property and the couple also spent thousands of pounds on Mercedes cars, film memorabilia from Christie’s and motorsport events at Silverstone.
It is understood that between 2006 and 2012 the Nickersons spent almost £200,000 holidays with a luxury travel firm.
During yesterday’s hearing Recorder Hawks told Anthony Nickerson that he faced a maximum term of two-and-a-half years in jail, but that was subject to a pre-sentence report about him and any other information about his personal circumstances.
The judge said he would be sentenced on the basis that he only became aware of his wife’s dishonesty in 2009 and thereafter “chose to turn a blind eye to it”.
Last December Nickerson’s wife was told that she was also facing a prison sentence for the theft.
It emerged during yesterday’s hearing that the couple were no longer living at the property in Wade House Road and Recorder Hawks made it a condition of their bail that they both live at an address in West Royd Avenue, Halifax.
The Nickersons must report to a police station once a week before the sentencing hearing.