Not to show my ignint ‘Murican here but I have to admit I don’t know dick about X Factor. I think those one dudes were on there, you know, the ones who looked like skinny, middle-aged lesbians led by a bootleg Mick Jagger. To be fair, I can’t name an American Idol contestant since the weird-looking fancy David Caruso guy, so safe to say I would suck at writing clickbait about singing reality shows.
What I do know a little something about is accountants, especially accountants behaving badly. Mark Livermore has been bad. Very, very bad.
2012 X Factor winner James Arthur doesn’t come from money. In his audition, he mentions being a little shit at school and ending up sleeping on the streets some nights. At the time, he lived in a tiny flat that appears to be no bigger than my living room, with a sad flat-screen TV wedged on top of a mini fridge next to his couch.
Safe to say, when he won and subsequently saw his single “Impossible” become the most successful winner’s single in the show’s history, dude must have been thrilled. But also a little terrified because with fame comes money and with money comes … well, just read any one of the numerous and awful “Lottery Winners: where are they now?” stories floating around.
He did what any smart, newly-famous guy would do and hired a professional accountant to handle his money for him. The error he made — which so many famous people swimming in cash do — was to trust Mark Livermore implicitly.
“Up until this happening, you were a hard-working and successful professional, and a very good family man,” said the judge at Livermore’s sentencing Thursday. “At some point you turned to spread betting and to start with you were doing it with your own money. I’m told you chose to steal money from James Arthur because you had access to his day-to-day accounts, but the fact you had that access suggests a particular trust was placed in you, trust you betrayed with devastating effects.”
Livermore was caught taking £599,000 from Arthur’s account by Livermore’s business partner, who performed an audit last April. When confronted by his business partner, who is (er, was) also his mentor, Livermore claimed he placed the bets on the singer’s behalf. Meanwhile, he had told Arthur the money would be used “for tax purposes.” Ah yes, the good ol’ Tax Man excuse.
This went on for years, making the crime particularly egregious in the eyes of the court.
Livermore has been sentenced to four years in jail, during which time we have no doubt he’ll figure out some way to monetize the commissary candy bar economy because even hardened criminals need professional financial services, right?