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Accountant sentenced to eight years for multi-million pound fraud

Today (Wednesday 22 March) Edward Tully, aged 62 of Meadows Lane, St Ives Cambridgeshire, has been sentenced at Inner London Crown Court to eight years imprisonment for defrauding three companies of more than £5 million.

The City of London Police's Fraud Squad arrested Tully on 9 October 2014 after it was discovered that he had defrauded CAMBR Limited, Cedarcoast Limited and Fenstead Limited - companies whose UK interests he oversaw and were owned by his long-time friend Mr Skolnick who was based in the US.

Tully first met Mr Skolnick as a business colleague in the 1980s and the two established a friendship spanning 25 years, prior to the fraud being discovered. However, between 25 January 2005 and 19 July 2011, Tully was given an increasing level of responsibility for the companies’ UK business interests due to Mr Skolnick being based in the US. This made it possible for Tully to process unauthorised payments by writing out cheques and transferring funds from the company accounts to his own personal account or to third parties for personal items and services.

This money was used to fund a luxury lifestyle far beyond Tully’s means. He used the money to build his own house, financial support for his accountancy practice, renovations to a hotel and general cash to support him. Mr Skolnick had made several requests to Tully for funds to be transferred from one of the company’s UK accounts into an account in the US. The funds were never transferred.

Tully admitted that he had taken and used money from the companies for his own personal use in a phone call that was recorded by Mr Skolnick in July 2011. Mr Skolnick died in April 2013 having tried to recover the money amicably from Tully with the fraud reported to the City of London Police on 11 July 2014 by Mr Skolnick’s UK legal representatives.

Detective Sergeant Lee Nelson from the City of London Police worked with banks and businesses that had contact with Tully to piece together the unauthorised cheque payments totalling £4,130,808 and additional transfers from accounts totalling £949,893 used by Tully to fund his lavish lifestyle. Mortgage payments were left unpaid and the property development owned by Mr Skolnick was repossessed, although Tully led Mr Skolnick to believe the apartments had been sold or let. This was all despite Tully’s claims that he would eventually pay back the money he had taken.

Detective Sergeant Lee Nelson said: “Tully lied to his friend of 25 years to cover up the sheer scale of his crimes. He only admitted his guilt when faced with no alternative.

“This was a crime driven by greed in which Tully took advantage of his friendship with Mr Skolnick and his position of trust as an accountant. We hope that today’s sentence serves as a warning to those who abuse their positions to commit fraud. This is justice that sadly Mr Skolnick will never know.”

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