Prostitute to give up home to pay debts of Toys 'R' Us thief
October 11, 2012
A prostitute must give up her Warfield home to help pay back the debt of a shamed finance boss who stole £3.7m from Toys ‘R’ Us.
Paul Hopes was jailed after embezzling the cash from his employer to spend on a secret life of drugs and escort girls.
On Tuesday a receiver gave permission to seize former prostitute Tanja Wieck’s three-bed home in Julius Hill, worth £300,000. A £36,500 BMW 325i M Sport convertible could also be sold to help return the cash stolen by Hopes.
Reading Crown Court heard she received more than £542,000 from Hopes, 59, over 17 months.
Her barrister James Bogle argued the cash was not a “tainted gift” to Ms Wieck but payment for services.
He said: “Her case is that this is not a gift – it was in effect a contract between her and Mr Hopes. While that is an immoral contract and unenforceable it is still a contract.”
However Judge Stephen John threw out the argument, saying: “On her own account she received over a period of 16 to 17 months sums of money considerably exceeding half a million pounds for providing, although she doesn’t use the phrase, what were plainly sexual services to the defendant Paul Hopes.
“Far from the whole of that money is still available – it’s been spent by her and she can have no possible complaint if enforcement now follows, which it will.”
The judge heard Ms Wieck was not able to attend the hearing due to ill health. Mr Bogle explained she is suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and recently suffered a miscarriage.
Hopes, formerly of Woodley, kept his multi-million pound fraud a secret from his wife Gillian. She has since divorced him it was revealed in court.
Hopes was jailed for seven years in 2009, but faces 10 years in prison if he does not repay the £3.7m stolen between 2006 and 2008.