Crooked staff member stole £80,000 from Leeds city centre property firm and bought BMW

Burd carried out an 80,000 fraud at Morgans City Living in Leeds.
Burd carried out an 80,000 fraud at Morgans City Living in Leeds.
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An accounts clerk stole £80,000 from the Leeds city centre letting agency where he work and used it to buy himself a BMW with a personalised number plate.

Reece Burd was locked up for 16 months for abusing his position at Morgans City Living.

Leeds Crown Court heard Burd carried out the deception over a seven-month period between May and December last year.

Jessica Randall, prosecuting, said Burd was employed as an accounts administrator with the company in March 2017.

Burd’s position allowed him access to an account used for the safe-keeping of clients’ bond money.

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The 21-year-old arranged 39 fraudulent transactions from the account into three of his own bank accounts.

Miss Randall said the sums ranged from 50p to £18,000.

The offending came to light when an audit was carried out of the firm’s Barclaycard chip and pin machine records.

Burd was interviewed by police and told officers he had initially started offending when his parents separated.

The prosecutor said: “He said his parents had split up and his dad had left with everything and his mum had turned to drink.”

Burd told officers he first used the money to pay bills and that it made him “feel good about himself”.

He began using the cash to buy clothes and bought a new BMW which had a private number plate.

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Burd, of Snowden Lawn, Bramley, Leeds, pleaded guilty to fraud and false accounting.

Craig Sutcliffe, mitigating, said Burd held a junior position in the company but was able to commit the offences as the person who was supervising him only worked part time.

He said: “His family were living in one room and he had difficulties in his personal life because of a his mother’s state of health and a very demanding partner in his life at the time.

“He was coping with all that as a 20-year-old."

Mr Sutcliffe said Burd did not use the money to buy the personalised number plate as it had been given to him.

Jailing Burd, Judge Robin Mairs said: “You set out to take £80,000 from your employer.

“The value and effect on the business is likely to have repercussions on other staff and how they are treated and trusted in future.”

After the case, Jonathan Morgan, Managing Director at Morgans, said: “It is important to stress that no tenants have lost any money and that as members of ARLA, the TDS, The TPO and an Approved Money Protection Scheme, we strongly support the regulation of our industry, which ensures that proper processes, such as regular reconciliations and audits of client monies are carried out at as a matter of routine.

"It is these very processes which swiftly uncovered the irregularities and our own internal checks that identified the theft, which we quickly repaid from shareholder funds, and we immediately informed the police.

“The impact of Reece Burd’s behaviour has cast a shadow over our hard working and loyal staff and they are genuinely shocked and upset by the abuse of his position.

"We have worked tirelessly for over 22 years on behalf of our clients and we are extremely proud and protective of our city and our business.”