A company boss who racially abused workers when they complained about not being paid has been jailed for defrauding staff out of almost £60,000.
John Gaines, who ran a security firm that had a lucrative contract helping protect Heathrow airport, cheated some of his security guards out of £58,140 and threatened to sack anyone who objected to the lack of pay.
He earned around £500,000 from his company’s contracts, which also included protecting Tesco distribution centres around the UK.
He even boasted about buying a football star’s lavish mansion.
But when his employees complained about not receiving payments, Gaines either threatened to sack them or racially abused them.
Judge Anthony Potter told him: “The frauds were perpetrated over an almost four-year period, and they stretched from Cheshire in the north to Heathrow in the south.
“This was an exploitation of vulnerable individuals for profit.
“None of your staff were provided with anything approaching a proper contract or uniform or equipment.
“All of this is against the background of bank accounts you held over this period of time being credited with something just over £500,000. So you were not a man who, at this time, was short of money.”
He added: “This offending is in category A because of the abuse of power, the lengthy period of time over which the offences were committed, and the number of victims.
“In addition there is the aspect of racial abuse.
“I consider that what you express is not genuine remorse, but regret for the effect the offending has had on your life, and that as a result you are going to go to custody.”
Prosecutor James Fletcher said that Gaines’s frauds involved contracts he had obtained to provide security guards for four construction sites between May 2012 and January 2016.
They included a Tesco distribution centre, construction work at Heathrow Terminal 2 in 2013, and a hotel in Coventry, between December 2015 and January 2016.
Gaines also falsely claimed on business cards that his company, Crown Accord Nationwide, was approved by the Security Industry Authority.
He employed vulnerable people who were desperate for work and repeatedly failed to pay them or made only limited payments, the court heard.
One worker was unable to pay his rent, while another was forced to sleep rough near Heathrow because he had no money to travel home.
Anne-Marie Critchley, defending, said: “He says he had not realised the effect his actions had had on some of the complainants until he heard their statements. He now expresses some remorse.”
Additional reporting by agencies