PR Heads for Call of Duty UK Found Guilty After Stealing $36,600
PR Executive Kathryn Kirton has been found guilty on one count of fraud, reportedly because she got carried away by the ‘glamorous and luxurious’ world of public relations. Kirton, 35, was hired on by Activision through Frank PR to manage the budget for the UK launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, to which she instead chose to steal £18,963 in order to pay for designer shopping sprees, an engagement party, luxurious hotel stays, and a hen party (bachelorette party for our American readers.)
On one out of her three shopping sprees, Kirton spent £9,437 at a clothing store named Reiss and took her then fiance for a two night stay at the luxurious Babington House hotel, charging another £2,000 to her company credit card. She even invoiced her firm for an engagement party at the exclusive central London venue Cafe de Paris racking up another £1,500 before making Activision foot the bill.
The court also heard that Kirton was able to make these fraudulent charges with the help of a Frank PR consultant named Jamie Kaye by using his company credit card and then authorizing invoices that would allow the charging of funds back to Activision. Prosecutor Kevin Dent, told the court that:
There were occasions when Mrs Kirton stayed in expensive accommodation at the expense of her employers. On one occasion the defendant went to the Reiss store where Mrs Kirton bought a large quantity of designer items for herself and her then finance Lee Kirton. On another occasion £5,506 worth of clothing was bought using the credit card of Frank PR. When it was billed back it was described as being clothing for a specialist magazine shoot, something connected with the Modern Warfare 2 launch. The clothes purchased have been looked at and they were nothing to do with Modern Warfare or any such game.
Kaye, age 36, admitted to stealing six iPads from his firm and decided to take himself and his family on a vacation to Florida charging Frank PR nearly £3,500 for ‘legitimate travel expenses’.
Judge John Hillen displayed a bit of mercy in his sentencing for Kirton, considering that her marriage had fallen apart and she gave birth prematurely during the course of the fraud investigation. He said this regarding her 18 month sentence before suspending the effects for two years:
I would have insisted that began with immediate effect if it wasn’t for the devastating effect it would have on your child
Kaye was given a nine month sentence, suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work.