A GREEDY finance manager who stole £369,000 of his company's money to fund an extravagant lifestyle with his girlfriend has been jailed for four years.
Matthew Farrimond was earning £120,000 a year plus a company car at Westhoughton construction firm Forrest but over an 11 month period helped himself to even more.
Farrimond used the money for purchases including pedigree kittens, holidays and a lavish lifestyle of meals out and drinks.
He used £112,000 of the cash he stole to fund the deposit of a £420,000 home in Buckshaw Village which he shared with partner Kirsty Holt, who he had met at the company.
David Lees, prosecuting, told Bolton Crown Court that Farrimond, aged 41, of Kirkby Close, Buckshaw Village, Chorley, was in a senior role at the company, which he had worked for since 2010.
But between January and November 2016 he began taking money from the business's account and paying it into his own bank account.
Farrimond even pretended two cheques, worth a total of £20,000 were for charitable donations when, in fact, the money was paid to him.
Altogether Farrimond made nine payments from the business account to himself, creating false invoices to cover his tracks and even changed a bank mandate to pay HMRC so that money owing would be paid to his own account.
His offending came to light after he left the company to take up another job. Farrimond pleaded guilty to 12 counts of fraud by false representation and one count of money laundering.
He was sentenced to four years in prison by the Honorary Recorder of Bolton, Judge Timothy Clayson.
His partner, Ms Holt had been accused of money laundering but, at an earlier hearing, the crown prosecution service offered no evidence against her.
Speaking after the hearing Forrest's chief financial officer Keith Reid said: "It has been a difficult time for the company and we are glad this part is behind us. This was one of several challenges the company faced."
PC Kate Riley of Greater Manchester Police's economic crime section, said: “Farrimond’s role was to safeguard the financial interests of the company he worked for, but he was the biggest threat to their hard-earned funds. 
“That he would deceitfully take money from the company he worked for is one thing, but he should be ashamed of the fact he hid his fraud by pretending to pay charities. 
“Even though he managed to take funds for a number of months, today’s sentence proves that you cannot get away with stealing money that doesn’t belong to you. 
“Our specialist officers work tirelessly to uncover fraudulent activity and bring those responsible, like Farrimond, to justice.”