A SENIOR oil executive who falsely claimed £80,000 in expenses from the company he worked for has narrowly avoided jail.
Alan Boal, 58, said ‘greed’ drove him to defraud Vallourec Oil and Gas UK over a five year period while he was employed as their chief financial controller.
Boal submitted false expenses forms claimed for mileage on days when he wasn’t working and bought gifts – including Christmas presents – for his family using the company credit card.
He was caught out after a colleague became suspicious of him and started keeping a record of his inflated claims.
Boal, of Paisley, Renfrewshire, was investigated by bosses at the multi-national firm and he later confessed to the scam.
At Hamilton Sheriff Court he admitted defrauding the company of £80,000 by making false expenses claims between May 2008 and January 2013.
Today he was ordered to perform 300 hours of unpaid work instead of going to prison.
Defence lawyer David Fiskin said Boal had paid back “100,000 to his old firm and and accepted his career was in ‘tatters’.
He said: “He lives with his wife, has two adult daughters and a granddaughter who he helps to look after.
“He was employed with the company but isn’t any longer as a result of this case.
“He is hoping to start his own business but there are difficulties with that given what he has pled guilty to.
“His reputation in the oil and gas industry is in tatters.
“He has been doing voluntary work but that does again depend on the outcome of this matter.
“He suffers from depression as does his wife.
“In the last months after he was dismissed, his wife has had good days and bad days and he helps look after her.
“He has brought shame on himself and on his family.”
Management at Vallourec called in accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers to carry out an analysis of Boal’s expenses forms when the fraud came to light.
The company, who supply steel pipes to the oil and gas industry, also contacted the police and Boal confessed to colleagues during a meeting at the Dakota Hotel in Lanarkshire.
Boal, who was based at the company’s site in Bellshill, Lanarkshire, was originally charged with defrauding the firm of £197,465 but pled guilty to the reduced amount.
Fiscal depute Imran Bashir had earlier told the court: “At the time of the commission of these offences the accused was regarded as one of the top financial controllers in the company.
“Several senior managerial staff within the company were issued with credit cards which were used for business related expenses such as hotel stays and business lunches.
“In January 2013 a witness attended at the HR department and reported the accused as having submitted false expenses.
“He said he had been suspicious of the accused for some time but as the accused was his boss he had been afraid of reporting the matter.”
Sentencing Boal, Sheriff Joyce Powrie said: “You will have to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work within six months.
“I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what will happen if you fail to comply with this order.”
Boal refused to comment.