Trust is the core value that holds any relationship together. While betrayal from anyone is painful, it is more heartbreaking when it comes from someone who you consider your family. Nina Chiversgave from Wales underwent such a betrayal.
Nina ran a successful estate agency with 10 employees. When she heard her friend Diane’s son, Robert Parker dropped out of University, she wanted to help him out. Having known each other for around six years, the two women often talked about their personal lives. So Nina knew Robert from the age of 13 and believed he was capable of working hard. She immediately offered him the position of trainee letting agent at her firm.
Estate agent’s devastation after employee she ‘cared for like a son’ admits stealing more than…
AN estate agent has spoken of her devastation after an employee she “cared for like a son” admitted stealing more than £300,000 in cash from…
“Robert was clever and reliable, so I offered him a job as a trainee letting agent. Diane was thrilled and Robert was so grateful – I even bought him a smart new suit, so he’d look the part,” said Nina to Mirror Online. The woman considered him to her son and trained him under her. Robert too shared a close relationship with her family and called Nina his “second mom.”
Robert was great at the job and got promoted to the position of lettings manager. The young man became responsible for delivering cash from landlords and renters to the bank. “I was proud of Robert for turning his life around. He had a great rapport with clients and was savvy with money, saving up for fancy holidays. He also liked to go to betting shops and the races with his dad, but it wasn’t my place to judge how he spent his wages,” said Nina.
Nina was happy she could help Robert achieve a better life. The man who lived a lavish life bought two houses and even planned a huge wedding to marry his pregnant girlfriend Rachael.
Meanwhile, Nina noticed few problems in her company. Though they were very successful, their profits remained the same. The confused woman asked her accountants for a detailed investigation but was told everything was in order.
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However, things turned upside down in 2016. Nina received news from the HM Revenue & Customs. It said that she owed them £200,000 in taxes. The woman, who had never been in debt before, was devastated. She decided to check with the accountants again but was left in the dark. She then turned to her most trusted source at the firm — Robert.
She told Robert about the problem but the young man consoled her saying it would have been a mistake. Given just three months to pay the bill, Nina somehow managed to gather the huge sum in a short span of time and paid off the bill.
Though the issue was settled, Nina was not ready to let it go. She hired forensic accountants to carry out further investigations on the missing money. In August 2017, Nina was informed the most shocking news of her life.
She was being played by Robert. The forensic accountants found that Robert had been swindling large sums of money from the firm for years. But Nina was not ready to believe it easily. She just could not imagine the culprit to be Robert.
So, the determined woman met Robert and enquired about the missing money. However, she received nothing that confirmed his part in it. Left with not many choices, the woman and her husband Rob skimmed through CCTV footages. Finally, they found evidence that presented them with the heartbreaking reality. Robert was responsible for all the missing cash. He had betrayed her trust. They discovered footage that showed Robert kissing a bundle of cash and slipping it into his bag. “I couldn’t forget the sight of him putting white envelopes full of my money into his lunch bag, and swinging the bag around when he was leaving for the day, knowing it was full of stolen cash,” said the woman.
“I couldn’t escape the image of him kissing the money and piling it into his suit pocket,’ she says. “The suit I lovingly bought him, enabling him to be smart and professional when representing my business.”
Nina was broken. She immediately confronted the young man who admitted the crime without remorse. He did not apologize to her and even had the audacity to ask her for a reference, as she kicked him out of the firm. The family then reported Robert to the police. She even told his mother about the incident.
Though police questioned Robert in 2017, he refused to answer their questions. So, Nina and her family were forced to spent more money to gather evidence against the man. They found he had stolen $803,097.75 (£650,000) from the firm over the years. However, the young man only admitted to stealing $373,131.57 (£302,000) on questioning.
In January 2019, the young man stood trial but did not seem to have regretted his actions. “I’ve known him since he was 13. He and his family had been a part of my life for years. I regarded him as a son. We went to his engagement party and wedding. He always confided in me with his personal problems,” said the woman in court.
Robert was found guilty and was sentenced to three years and two months in prison. He was also asked to pay £70,682 to Nina. Though the 28-year-old was punished, Nina has not entirely come out of the shock. “I feel like he has ruined my life and my family’s lives. I cared for him a great deal,” she says. “To discover that he has done this to me – he clearly did not care for me. I keep asking myself why this has happened and what have I done to deserve it. My outlook on life has changed, as I can’t help but be suspicious,” said the shattered woman.