A wheelchair-bound Belfast man who assisted his wife in a £1m fraud committed against the medical firm where she worked has been sent to jail for a year.
Samuel Noel Savage – whose wife was jailed earlier this year for her role in the fraud – was handed a two-year sentence on two charges arising from a seven-year scam.
The 60-year-old, from Kincora Mews in the east of the city, will spend a year in prison, followed by an additional year on supervised licence upon his release.
Sending Savage to jail, Mr Justice Tracey told Belfast Crown Court that none of the £1,044,113.21 stolen from Arjo Huntleigh has been repaid. The judge also said there had been “no credible explanation whatsoever” given by Savage as to how the money was spent, apart from a claim it was used to clear household bills.
Savage admitted two counts arising from the fraud, namely entering into an arrangement to acquire criminal property, and also converting criminal property.
A previous court hearing was told that over a seven-year period from June 2006 to December 2013, Savage lodged hundreds of cheques into an account controlled by him which his wife Dolores stole from her employers. In total, there were 808 separate transactions made.
Earlier this year 59-year-old Dolores Savage, who is also from Kincora Mews, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position, and obtaining money transfers by deception. She was handed a two-year sentence, and like her husband, she is serving half her sentence in prison, followed by a year on supervised licence.
Dolores Savage carried out the fraud by making invoices identical to ones on the company’s computer system for a supplier. Arjo Huntleigh would then make duplicate payments – one to the legitimate supplier and a further payment either to a company called Savmac – which was owned by the Savages – or to her.
The offending occurred when Dolores Savage worked as a purchase ledger in the accounts department of the firm’s Belfast branch based in Sydenham. The court heard that the “principal beneficiary of the dishonest conduct” was a company called Savmac, which was owned by the couple.
Prior to sentence being passed, Mr Justice Tracey said he accepted that Samuel Noel Savage suffered a number of serious and debilitating illness. These include type two diabetes, a chronic heart condition and oestoarthritis in his ankles.
He also requires the use of a wheelchair, is on the high rate of Disability Living Allowance, and requires regular medical attention and assistance – including help injecting insulin for his diabetes.
After Savage was sentenced, he was wheeled from court into custody by prison staff.