IT director who defrauded celebrity music agency of £360k faces prison

John Dunne

An IT director is facing jail after swindling more than £360,000 from an artist management agency which looks after some of classical music’s biggest stars.

Christopher Hoare abused his position at HarrisonParrott to order IT equipment with the company credit card but then sold the items on eBay and pocketed the money, Westminster magistrates’ court heard.

Hoare, 50, from Maidenhead, yesterday pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud against the firm, whose website says it manages artists including music producer Quincy Jones, composer John Adams and soprano Claudia Boyle, who was recently seen at the English National Opera in a production inspired by the murders of Jack the Ripper.

Prosecutor Komal Varsani told the court that Hoare, the IT and communications director, had defrauded £362,000 between May 28, 2010 and January 8, 2019. He also admitted pocketing £6,300 on March 9 last year.

The court was told that the fraud began when the defendant ran into personal financial problems.

Claudia Boyle in La Traviata at the London Coliseum (YouTube)

The prosecutor said: “He would order items with the company credit card ... things like MacBooks that would sell well and then sell them on eBay for personal gain. He would doctor the invoices ... He had taken steps to cover his behaviour.”

The Police drummer Stewart Copeland (Araya Diaz/Getty Images)

Hoare was warned that he faced a jail sentence because of the scale and “sophistication” of the fraud carried out against his employer. Magistrates adjourned the case for sentencing at Isleworth crown court at a date yet to be fixed and Hoare was granted unconditional bail.

HarrisonParrott, based in Hammersmith, was set up in 1969. Its website says: “International artist management has always been the core of our business. We are proud to represent an exceptional list of performers — from emerging talent to the internationally renowned. We are committed to helping them forge distinctive careers as concert and recording artists, tailoring our work to their individual needs and aspirations. Our relationships with promoters are characterised by trust, integrity and partnership.”

  • Read more

Stars represented by the firm also include former The Police drummer Stewart Copeland, who has since carved out a career writing operas and film soundtracks. It also manages American conductor Kent Nagano who has worked with some of the world’s best musicians including the London Symphony Orchestra and Manchester’s Hallé orchestra where he was principal conductor for many years.

Read more

Read more Action Fraud scandal is the result of poor funding of financial crime