A former Toys “R” Us
accountant working at the toy store chain’s suburban London corporate office embezzled £3.7m (US $6.2m), financing a binge of five-star hotels, luxurious meals, fast cars and even faster women, according to a British broadsheet.
Interestingly, before he got caught, he paid off the mortgage of one of his escorts, but for whatever reason, he failed to do the same for the loan on his own home, where his wife and two children live, according to a story
in the Times
Co-workers told the paper Paul Hopes, 58, was a quiet, unassuming accountant, who in his 23-year career at Toys “R” Us, worked his way up to the role of managing purchasing accounts. But his three-year-long secret life was exposed to the public after he pled guilty to 18 charges of theft, admitting to siphoning funds ranging from £101,000 to £350,000 between January 2007 and November last year.
“Look, in all the time I’ve worked in the same building ... getting arrested is the one memorable thing I can remember him doing,” a former colleague told the paper.
Hopes met most of the women in hotel bars and an investigator told the paper he developed an infatuation with more than one of the escorts. He spent thousands of pounds on a Bentley for one woman, and paid off the mortgage of a second. While the toy company is attempting to recover some of the lost funds, it is believed at least £2.7m won’t ever be recovered.
Hopes’ escort isn’t the only homeowner getting out of their mortgage payments early these days. A Suffolk County Supreme Court justice voided the adjustable-rate mortgage
(ARM) of a New York couple in a case with failed IndyMac Bank
and a woman in Pennsylvania hopes a judge will void her mortgage
with the lending subsidiary of homebuilder Toll Brothers
, according to a class action suit filed Tuesday.
Write to Austin Kilgore