An ex-Sure employee, who stole four iPhones worth just over £2,000 from the shop, and created fake invoices to hide his actions before selling the mobiles on, has been sentenced to 180 hours' community service.
James Arthur Baker (39) appeared before the Royal Court today, facing three counts of larceny and one of money laundering, all of which he had previously admitted.
Summing up the facts for the prosecution, Crown Advocate Matthew Maletroit said Baker - who he described as “a senior member of staff with management responsibilities” - had “abused the trust” of Sure by stealing the phones which he then sold to unsuspecting parties.
Baker had started working at Sure in 2006 as a Retail Consultant. He was later promoted to Team Leader, a role he held until he was dismissed for gross misconduct in 2015.
Pictured: Baker stole four iPhones from Sure over a six-week period.
Baker’s offences came to light after a Manager had Sure reviewed mobile phone sales and discovered a number of discrepancies between the stock and sales management system.
In total, 290 phones were missing from the stock and a number of fictitious sales had been created on the system using Baker’s credentials.
Police managed to track down some of the users for the stolen mobile phones and one of them said he had bought it from Baker, who he knew through a friend, at a discounted price. He had bought four phones from Baker - two for himself and his wife and two for friends, none of whom knew the handsets were stolen.
The Crown Advocate said Baker had created invoices on Sure’s system to make it appear as though the phones had been sold in genuine transactions. In one case, he had created a new account for an existing customer and “used his knowledge of the computer system” so that the client wouldn’t know.
When first questioned about the findings of Sure’s review, Baker said he was shocked and suggested another employee might have been using his credentials on the system. He denied having any knowledge of the stolen mobile phones.
He also denied any wrongdoing during interviews with the police but eventually submitted a basis of plea for the four phones he had sold in February 2020.
The Crown Advocate said that Baker’s actions had caused Sure’s staff to spend a substantial amount of time on an investigation as well as prompting the introduction of new practices and computer system.
He also noted that Baker had tried to conceal his crime by creating fake invoices and hadn’t cooperated with the investigation, maintaining his innocence instead and pointing to colleagues as potential suspects.
Baker told a Probation Officer that at the time, he and his partner were experiencing financial difficulties and that he had seen an opportunity for financial gain.
He recommended 180 hours community service as well as for the people who had bought phones from Baker to be compensated as they had since been returned to Sure.
Pictured: Adam Harrison was representing Baker.
Advocate Adam Harrison, Baker’s lawyer, said his client’s offences had taken place over a short period of time and hadn’t had “a significant impact” on Sure.
He added there had been no wider impact on the public and the public’s confidence on the retail sector.
He asked the Court to give Baker time to repay the compensation order as his work as a painter-decorator had been affected by the pandemic and he had debts to pay as well as maintenance for his children.
He encouraged the court to read the several references written on behalf of Baker, who spoke highly of him, as well as his letter of remorse in which he said he “did not want to let down his employer or anyone else in the future”.
Advocate Harrison also noted the letter from Baker’s former partner who described him as a “good father” and his voluntary work with a football club which showed his “positive character”.
The case was heard by Royal Court Commissioner Julian Clyde-Smith, who was sitting with Jurats Jerry Ramsden and Kim Averty.
They followed the Crown’s recommendations and imposed 180 hours of community service, as well as ordering Baker to pay just over £1,100 in compensation, at a rate of £150 a month. If Baker does not pay, he will face up to one month in prison.
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