A crooked accountant who pocketed more than £763,000 by applying for loans in the name of his clients has been jailed for six and a half years.
Russell Payne filed a series of false applications between June 2015 and January 2017, Lincolnshire Police said.
His offending came to light when one client told police Payne had taken out a £42,000 loan in their name.
Payne, 63, of Eastgate, Lincoln, was found guilty of six counts of fraud after a trial at Lincoln Crown Court.
The court heard Payne had also sold shares in his business using falsified accounts.
Whilst offending, he continued to work alongside his victims to prolong the cover-up, police said.
Det Con James Norton from the force’s Economic Crime Unit said: “Payne was a well-respected professional accountant who abused his position for his own personal gain.
“He used his knowledge of accountancy and his position in the local business community to take out multiple loans in other businesses’ names without their knowledge, and falsified his accounts to sell his company for more than it is worth.
“Payne’s offending was extremely calculated, often going to great lengths to hide his offending so he could continue doing so unnoticed. His actions also put local businesses at risk of collapse and a number of jobs were also placed at risk.”
He was later made the subject bankruptcy restrictions set to last until 2025 after an investigation by the Insolvency Service found he had disposed of almost £70,000 in the lead up to the Bankruptcy Order being made.