Activision, Frank PR duo in UK sentenced for fraud

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

LONDON: Former Activision senior PR manager in the UK Kathryn Kirton and former Frank PR associate director Jamie Kaye have been sentenced after pleading guilty to fraud, which Frank PR described as an “isolated incident.”

Kirton admitted stealing nearly £19,000 (about $29,000), 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 (about $7,600).

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

“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,” said Damon Kelly, group CFO of Frank PR. “Frank PR subsequently cooperated fully with the police's further investigations regarding a criminal prosecution.”

He added that “Frank PR also provided the UK 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.” It did so “in the interests of making sure that that consultancy was aware of the facts relating to Kaye's employment history at Frank PR,” Kelly said.

He added that the agency has cooperated fully with the police's investigations on the matter and conducted an external audit.

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 money at a clothing retailer and a luxury hotel.

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 authorized invoices, allowing Kaye to charge back to Activision.

A judge spared Kirton jail because of the “devastating effect” it would have on her young son.

Activision declined to comment, and Edelman did not respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.

This story originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK, the sister publication of PRWeek at Haymarket Media.

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