Search

Hampstead property developer defrauded friend of more than £750,000

13:00 29 January 2014

Snaresbrook Crown Court

Snaresbrook Crown Court

Archant

A property developer who betrayed his business partner to raid more than £750,000 from their company has been jailed.

Stephen Manuel, 62, of Redington Road, Hampstead, spent nine years plundering the accounts at Macemaster Properties while hiding the truth from friend and co-founder Stuart Jefcoate.

He fraudulently withdrew £781,000 for personal use or to plough into other business ventures from 2003 to 2012, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

Manuel even resorted to cutting out his friend’s signature and pasting it on cheques to withdraw the money.

He set up online banking for the company without his business partner knowing, and told the bank he did not need to know about it.

Manuel, the financial director, and Mr Jefcoate, set up their firm in September 1997, and built it up to reaching a multi-million pound turnover.

In a bid to stop Mr Jefcoate finding out about the fraud, Manuel paid back £160,000 into the accounts.

But in October 2012, Mr Jefcoate checked bank records after a large sale of property on the Isle of Wight and found less than £250,000 remaining.

Manuel pleaded guilty to 12 counts of fraud and two of obtaining money transfer by deception, and has since paid back all the money owed.

This did not save him from a prison term as Judge Neil Sanders sentenced him to serve two years and four months behind bars on Friday.

Judge Sanders said that despite the large sums involved, it was obvious Manuel was not a professional fraudster.

“Although it has some, it does not have sufficient hallmarks of being a professionally planned fraud,” he said.

“It was fraudulent from the outset and over a significant period of time and there were multiple frauds.

“You have paid all the money back, but you only did so after these matters came to light.

“You are of good character and up to your early 50s led a blameless and hard-working life.

“You have shown remorse and this is something completely out of character.”

Manuel was told he would have to pay Mr Jefcoate £32,000 compensation for the loss he caused to the company and its reputation.

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 08:00
Camden People's Theatre. Picture: Google Streetview

Dartmouth Park resident Benedict Cumberbatch has been at pains to remind his audience how distracting mobile phones can be during performances.

Sunday, August 30, 2015
Robert Stephenson-Padron with pet parrott, Coco Lee

Robert Stephenson-Padron, 30, is managing director of Penrose Care in Belsize Lane, Belsize Park. He also lives in Belsize Park. His company provides homecare to the elderly and gained national attention for paying its employees the London Living Wage, one of only four out of more than 1,000 organisations in the London homecare industry to do so.

Saturday, August 29, 2015
Three dogs have been poisoned

Three dogs have reportedly died after eating poison in Coldfall Wood in Muswell Hill

Friday, August 28, 2015
Michael McIntyre switching on Hampstead's Christmas lights in 2011  Picture: Polly Hancock

Funnyman Michael McIntyre has upset members of the Heath and Hampstead Society for crudeness - not of his jokes but plans to renovate his home.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Shop till you drop!

Home to top name brands at great prices, TK Maxx is more like a treasure hunt than a shop. Perfect for grabbing a bargain or some hidden gems, you arm yourself with a trolley and go wild.

Scones, jam and a cup of Earl Grey anyone?

Luxury boutique hotel Flemings Mayfair has recently launched The Drawing Room, London’s most stylish location for afternoon tea.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder