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FD excluded from ICAEW for fraudulently issuing cheques

A FINANCE DIRECTOR has been excluded from the ICAEW for three years following the discovery that he embezzled money from the company he was employed with.

According to ICAEW disciplinary papers Jitin Dixit dishonestly issued six cheques totalling £24,522.92 to companies that he was a director of, without the consent of the board. 

He was sentenced to exclusion and forced to pay costs of £2,524.

Dixit was FD of Cantos Communications from October 2009 to December 2010. Following a group reorganisation Dixit was made redundant and the financial operations were transferred to PR giant Brunswick.

He remained as a consultant from 1 January 2011 to 31 March 2011 to assist with the year-end audit and transfer of operations. During this exercise it was discovered that a number of payments, totalling £17,500, were made to companies in which Dixit was a director and were not approved by the board. A further £7,022.92 was made to an entity titled by the disciplinary panel as “A”.

The discovery of the payments was made by Brunswick CFO and vice-chairman Andrew Fenwick, who confronted Dixit over the cheques totalling £7,022.92. Dixit admitted they were made without board approval and repaid them.

The tribunal was shown evidence of the stress Dixit was under at the relevant time and that due to another business venture entering into serious financial difficulties there was a real threat to his family’s home. The evidence continued that it was Dixit’s intention to repay the funds but was made redundant before he had the opportunity to do so. Also, this was not a sophisticated fraud but a one off and a result of the stressful circumstances he was under at the time.

Dixit also put forward two character witnesses, the first of which was an ICAEW member who offered to act as a mentor. The second was a CEO of a company Dixit is currently employed with, who said he wanted Dixit to continue working with his company because Dixit is an “integral part of the company’s plans”.

Dixit admitted the complaint, expressed great remorse and has repaid the monies in full to the company.

However, the tribunal said although he had a previously unblemished record and strong character witnesses this was not a one-off incident. There were six transactions during a nine month period, one of which was post his redundancy when he was made consultant. The tribunal said that he made repayments after he was found out.

The tribunal excluded Dixit for three years and forced him to pay costs of £2,524 but because he had not benefited from the fraud would not incur a fine.

The ICAEW said: “In the course of carrying out professional work or otherwise he has committed any act or default likely to bring discredit on himself, the institute or the profession of accountancy.”

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