A FUNERAL director who failed to keep adequate accounts after making his bookkeeper redundant is set to avoid going straight to jail.

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Reginald Rivett has been told by a judge that he won’t be given an immediate prison sentence when he is sentenced next month after it was accepted he hadn’t acted dishonestly.

Rivett, 60, who ran R Rivett Ltd Funeral Directors, based in Carlton Road, Kirkley, Lowestoft, was due to stand trial next week accused of taking charitable donations from funerals and keeping them for himself, which he denied.

Rivett, of Woodland Cottage, Yoxford, denied a charge of fraud by abuse of position between October 2010 and November 2011 but yesterday entered an acceptable guilty plea to a less serious charge of failing to keep adequate accounting records.

Adjourning sentence until the week commencing February 11 for a pre-sentence report, Judge David Goodin said Rivett had no previous convictions and would not be given an immediate prison sentence.

He said Rivett had originally been charged with fraud in relation to charitable donations but since then the case against him had changed substantially.

In his basis of plea, Rivett said his business, which had operated since 1888 through five generations, had cashflow problems after its operating overdraft facility was reduced by the bank.

As a result of reductions in expenditure, the company’s bookkeeper, whose duties had included record-keeping in relation to charitable donations, was made redundant.

“Mr Rivett accepts with a small minority of accounts that the record keeping was not acceptable and that this caused unreasonable delay in the settlement of these accounts,” said his barrister, Steven Dyble. “Mr Rivett maintains that he was not dishonest.

“He accepts he was wrong in the circumstances of this case not to take more care,” he added.

He said that his client’s business had gone into liquidation despite his efforts to save the company. “This has caused him much distress,” said Mr Dyble.

He said the case involved hundreds rather than thousands of pounds and Rivett intended to make good any outstanding shortfall.

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