Belfast couple defrauded wife’s firm of £1m in invoices scam

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An east Belfast couple defrauded a leading global medical supplies firm of £1 million over a seven-year period by using duplicate invoices to fund a “lavish lifestyle’’, a court has heard.

However, in defence it was claimed the monies were “lavished ... and squandered” on the couple’s children.

Dolores Savage, 59, and her husband Noel Savage, 60, both of Kincora Mews, had previously pleaded guilty to a number of offences relating to the fraud.

Mrs Savage pleaded guilty to obtaining a money transfer by deception and fraud by abuse of her position within Arjo Huntleigh.

Belfast Crown Court heard the total amount obtained by the couple was £1,044,113.21p and that Dolores Savage had carried out the fraud by making duplicate invoices identical to ones on the firm’s computer system for a legitimate supplier.

Arjo Huntleigh would then make duplicate payments – one to the legitimate supplier and then a further one to a firm called ‘Savmac’ or to ‘Dolores Savage’.

Prosecution lawyer Robin Steer said Dolores Savage was employed by Arjo Huntleigh from August 2003 as a purchase ledger in the accounts department at their Belfast branch at Sydenham industrial estate in the Belfast Harbour Estate.

The court heard Arjo Huntleigh is a leading global provider of medical technology products and solutions to hospitals and care homes.

The fraud began in June 2006, and over a seven-year period 808 cheques were debited from the Arjo Huntleigh account.

None of the money has been recovered.

Mr Justice Treacy granted the couple continuing bail and said he would pass sentence next week.