Bannatyne fraudster convicted at Teesside Crown Court
Today Christopher Watson, aged 46 from Cleveland Avenue in Darlington has been sentenced for defrauding Bannatyne’s Fitness Ltd of nearly 8 million pounds from July 2008 to July 2014.
Christopher Watson who was employed as Finance Director, received a 4 year 8 month sentence after being convicted at Teesside Crown Court on 7 counts relating to fraud by abuse of position and money laundering. He also admitted five counts of transferring criminal property with regards to the homes he purchased in the Darlington area, with the stolen cash.
Watson used the money to pay off debts of £5.4 million at the betting firm Spreadex, with another £500,000 at Ladbrokes and £250,000 at Sporting Index. He also used the funds to maintain a lavish lifestyle.
Detective Inspector Traci McNally, of Durham Constabulary, said: “I am delighted with the length of sentence which represents the severity of the offences committed by Christopher Watson and the fact that he held a position of trust within a well-known company.
“He laundered vast sums of money to support a gambling addiction and also to fund a portfolio of property and businesses in the Darlington area.”