Activision and Frank PR duo sentenced for fraud

Former Activision senior PR manager Kathryn Kirton and former Frank PR associate director Jamie Kaye have been sentenced after pleading guilty to fraud, which the agency described as an 'isolated incident'.

Call of Duty: launch funds diverted
Call of Duty: launch funds diverted

Kirton admitted stealing nearly £19,000, while Kaye, who led Frank PR's Activision account before he was dismissed by the agency for gross misconduct in December 2010, admitted embezzling £5,000.

At Blackfriars Crown Court yesterday Kirton was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, and Kaye was given a nine-month sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work.

Damon Kelly, group CFO of Frank PR, said: ‘This was an incident isolated to the actions of one individual and on one client. Frank PR informed the police at the time and handed over all the evidence that had been collated during the internal investigation. Frank PR subsequently co-operated fully with the police's further investigations regarding a criminal prosecution.

‘Frank PR also provided the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) with a full account of the matter and the grounds for Kaye’s dismissal when it became apparent that Kaye been given a senior role by Edelman (another PRCA member agency) early in 2011 in the interests of making sure that that consultancy was aware of the facts relating to Kaye’s employment history at Frank PR.

‘As part of its PRCA membership since 2004, Frank PR has had a quality assessment independent external audit conducted on all it's operational processes and systems. The agency has passed this assessment and has been awarded the Consultancy Management Standard, an accreditation acknowledging best practice in the industry.’

Activision continued to work with Frank until May 2012, when it handed its account to The Red Consultancy after a pitch.

Kaye, who was part of Frank’s senior management team, is understood to have paid the agency back thousands of pounds of the money he took.

He was suspended in November 2010 and Frank’s internal investigation established that the fraud it suffered was limited to the Activision account.

The court heard that Kirton took money intended to fund the launch of Activision game ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops’.

Instead, she paid for engagement celebrations and spent £9,437 at clothes store Reiss in October 2010, along with £2,000 on a luxury hotel break.

Kaye, meanwhile, is reported to have used the cash for a family holiday in Florida and taken six iPads from his firm for himself. Kirton also authorised invoices, allowing Kaye to charge back to Activision.

Judge Hillen spared Kirton jail because of the ‘devastating effect’ it would have on her young son.

Activision declined to comment and Edelman had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.

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