Deep Purple‘s former accountant has reportedly been sentenced to six years and four months in prison for stealing £2.2 million ($4.1 million AUD) from the band.
According to Surrey live, accountant Dipak Rao was sentenced on Tuesday for transferring large sums of money from Deep Purple’s Overseas Ltd and HEC Enterprises Ltd accounts (both of which he was director of) into his own.
Rao then reportedly invested the funds into money-making schemes, which were actually scams, and resultantly lost it all.
A two-year investigation by Insolvency Service found that Rao deceptively transferred money from Deep Purple’s accounts from 2008 through to 2014.
He apparently also hid the transactions from financial reports and restricted access to the band’s bank accounts.
He then resigned from both companies in 2014 after the stolen funds were reportedly discovered in a board meeting.
Deep Purple’s remaining founders (Ian Gillan, Roger Glover and Ian Paice) worked out the mishap back in 2014 and, alongside the late Jon Lord and Tony Edwards’ estates, sued Rao.
Former band manager Tony Edwards’ children first raised suspicions that something wasn’t right after they inherited the band’s business following Edwards’ death in 2010.
“The stress that we have been under during this time is immeasurable,” said Edwards’ daughter in a statement, read aloud during the court hearing.
“He has devastated the legacy that my father spent his life building. This devastation was brought about by a man that we had known for years and trusted.”
Lawyers said Rao took the money in a “moment of madness” and then continued siphoning the cash to pay for his losses.
His defence said: “His conduct is most accurately and fairly seen as the conduct of a foolish man who got out of his depth.”
Rao pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position and transferring criminal property, and he’s expected to serve at least half of his sentence. He’s been disqualified from directing any business until 2028.