Couple Stole Celeb Chef’s Fortune To Fund Disney World Trip

in Disney, Walt Disney World


Credit: ITM

The Walt Disney Company takes up a lot of entertainment news for a reason. Despite their recent financial and creative follies, they remain an American institution with a century-long legacy that continues to inspire generation after generation. The living embodiment of their standard of excellence has been their legendary, must-visit theme parks. This was certainly the case for two Disney-loving embezzlers who took an all-expenses-paid trip to Walt Disney World funded by a swindled celebrity chef.

Dad with mouse ears excited with son
Credit: Disney

The victim in this criminal case was renowned chef, Stephen Terry. The culinary expert’s fame would grow during his appearance on the Great British Menu TV series. This would lead him to collaborate with other celebrity chefs, like best friend Gordon Ramsay. His notoriety allowed him to eventually open up The Hardwick in Abergavenny, UK.

Credit: Wales News Service

Nicola Nightingale was the financial administrator for this luxury restaurant. She would soon steal nearly $188,000 while transferring almost $58,000 to her husband‘s account. Chef Terry eventually noticed the missing funds himself. He also discovered two $50,000 loans taken out in his name. The money was soon traced back to Nightingale.

Credit: Wales News Service

The investigation from prosecutors uncovered that Nightingale created fake invoices from fabricated suppliers. Then, she pretended that the business was running efficiently, but had actually run the restaurant into massive debt. It was revealed that she spent her stolen fortune on jet-setting vacations to Morocco, Disneyland Paris, and Walt Disney World. She would brag about her trip to the Happiest Place on Earth via social media.

Credit: Wales News Service

Nightingale would plead guilty to ‘fraud by abuse of position,’ while her husband was convicted of ‘acquiring criminal property after a trial.’ Despite the severity of her financial criminality, the couple only received a two-year prison term with 100 hours of community service. They are also not forced to pay back what they stole.

Credit: Wales News Service

Chef Terry expressed to the public that he was livid by the decision. The judge chose the sentencing because he did not want their prison term to have a “lasting negative impact” on the couple’s five children with no means to return their ill-gotten fortune. Terry continued that this ordeal should be a lesson to not trust so easily, do research, get thorough references and be aware of one’s own business.

What do you think about the sentencing? Was Disney World the best place to go?

in Disney, Walt Disney World

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