Monday 16 July 2018

Falsified audit reports

Tubbercurry District Court where Alan Spencer was convicted of submitting false audit reports between 2007-2015
Tubbercurry District Court where Alan Spencer was convicted of submitting false audit reports between 2007-2015

Sorcha Crowley

A Tubbercurry businessman has been convicted of five counts of false accounting.

Accounting Technician Alan Spencer Meadowbrook, Tubbercurry, pleaded guilty to the charges before Judge Kevin Kilrane at Tubbercurry District Court last Wednesday.

The State had charged him with making a false auditor's report for Wainscotting Ltd, purporting to have been prepared by chartered accountant Alan Jones FCA, a registered auditor, of McDonald Jones & Co who are based on Dame Street in Dublin.

Spencer admitted to submitting false audit reports for Wainscotting Ltd on four occasions in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 at Wolf Tone Square, Tubbercurry.

The 63-year-old also pleaded guilty to submitting a false audit for Brendan Walsh Plant Hire & Groundworks Ltd, purporting to be Greg Tansey & Co of O'Connell Street, Ballymote on March 4th 2015.

Inspector Paraic Burke told Judge Kilrane the false audits were submitted by Spencer making a signature.

He said the case was investigated by detectives based in Ballymote.

Defending solicitor Mr Morgan Coleman asked the defendant what sort of role he played while Judge Kilrane asked what exactly an accounting technician did.

"Is it a type of bookkeeping?" he asked the defendant in the witness box.

Spencer replied he had a three years Third Level qualification and was authorised to prepare accounts for companies, such as sole traders, who can use an accounting technician to submit their company accounts.

Spencer said he would also look after annual accounts and PAYE returns etc.

Spencer told the court that if he hadn't submitted them within 28 days, the company would have to have be audited.

The court heard Spencer did not submit the accounts in time, so made a decision to prepare an audit report himself and submit it to the Companies Registration Office (CRO).

Mr Coleman told Judge Kilrane there was no financial gain to either Spencer or the companies and no loss of revenue to the State or the CRO.

When originally charged and cautioned with the offences Spencer told Gardaí that he was "trying to help the companies out", saying it arose from his own fault for submitting them late and said 'I'm sorry'.

Mr Coleman said his client had no previous convictions, had two adult children and operated a small accounting business in Tubbercurry.

Judge Kilrane said these types of crimes were becoming "all the more serious given what's emerging from the financial sector generally."

He said Spencer had no professional indemnity insurance and people could be "seriously misled" and pointed to the "recent high profile case of this nature".

"People are relying on these accounting professionals for accuracy," he said. He convicted and fined Spencer €200.

Sligo Champion