Kathryn Kirton’s defense said she had got ‘carried away’ and is now paying for those ‘moments of madness’, according to the Daily Mail. She got receipts stamped by Activision by bringing in a Frank PR consultant to approve dodgy deals on clothes and in one case a £1,500 party. Her co-defendent, Jamie Kaye, was found to have charged thousands for a family holiday to Florida.
Kirton got Frank PR associate director Jamie Kaye, a co-defendant, to approve unauthorised purchases on his company card. Kirton then authorised the invoices which sent the bill to Activision. Kaye himself admitted to taking £5,000.
Kirton reportedly held a £1,500 engagement party at London’s Cafe de Paris that was also charged to activision, as well as what the Daily Mail says were three shopping sprees at Reiss.
According to PR Week, Kaye is understood to have paid back thousands of pounds to Frank PR, while Frank’s CFO described the fraud as an ‘isolated incident’.
Judge John Hillen said there was ‘no doubt’ Kirston’s ‘wickedness’ deserved a severe sentence.
However, he said that those in PR are often surrounded by luxury items and suggested the fraud was reflective of the industry.
“What is surprising is that cases like this are happening more and more often in your industry,” Hillen said. “But this is not the place to explore the PR industry”. He later blamed the world of public relations itself for corrupting Kaye and allowing him to be willingly drawn in by Kirton.
Kirton was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, while Kaye has been given a nine month sentence, suspended for 12 months. Kaye was also ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work, which is far less than your average PR intern.