Page last updated at 19:33 GMT, Friday, 18 December 2009

Toys R Us accountant stole 3.6m for prostitutes

Paul Hopes
Hopes' family only found out about his double life when he was arrested

A former Toys R Us accountant has been jailed for seven years for defrauding the firm of £3.6m he spent on prostitutes and expensive cars.

Paul Hopes, 58, had worked for the toy firm for 23 years and had a £56,000 salary when he developed an infatuation with a massage parlour worker.

He set up a bank account in her name to siphon off money between 2006 and 2008.

Hopes, of Woodley, Reading, Berkshire, admitted 14 counts of theft and four of transferring criminal property.

Reading Crown Court heard how he lead a secret life his wife and children knew nothing about.

While he appeared to be living a normal family life, he was also lavishing money and gifts on five prostitutes.

This was not a crime of passion but a crime of lust it would appear
Prosecutor Simon Heptonstall

The court was told he gave thousands of pounds to the women, who he met in luxury hotels.

He gave one of them enough money to pay off her mortgage, and another woman bought a Bentley with the money he gave her.

The court heard Hopes knew the position of trust he held in the company meant his crimes were unlikely to be detected.

People who knew Hopes thought he was quiet and unassuming.

His friend Dave Wright said: "It was a shock, the fact that he admitted more than 14 offences for embezzling money from Toys R Us.

"But a bigger shock was the fact that he was spending it on call girls, prostitutes, total disbelief, never came out at all that he was leading a double life."

'Absurd luxury'

His family only found out about his double life when he was arrested and charged by police last year.

Simon Heptonstall, prosecuting, said: "This was not a crime of passion but a crime of lust it would appear."

Judge Stephen John questioned how such a "simple fraud" could have taken place at a large firm like Toys R Us.

Sentencing Hopes, he said: "I cannot judge if, as you say, you felt sorry for these women, but you chose to provide them with an absurdly luxurious lifestyle in order to preserve your sexual relationship with them."

Toys R Us declined to comment.



Print Sponsor


RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific