A FORMER finance director at one of York’s leading employers has appeared in court accused of stealing more than £1.2 million from the organisation.

James William Gibbon, 62, of St George’s Place, off Tadcaster Road, appeared before York Magistrates, facing ten charges of theft from Benenden Healthcare Society Limited over the course of ten years.

Gibbon, who was head of finance at the York-based mutual healthcare provider from 1997 to 2012, was accused of ten charges, one relating to each year from 2003 to 2012.

He was accused of stealing funds of £75 from Benenden in 2003, in York and elsewhere in England and Wales; £1,725 in 2004; £3,650 in 2005 and £38,417 in 2006; £230,499 in 2007; £200,553 in 2008; £194,778 in 2009; £228,241 in 2010 and £245,787 in 2011.

He was further accused of stealing £63,692 between January 1 and April 4 in 2012.

The total amount he is alleged to have stolen comes to £1,207,417.

Gibbon did not enter a plea. Magistrates agreed that the matter was not suitable to be decided by them and committed the case to York Crown Court, where Gibbon is due to appear on January 31. He was given unconditional bail.

Benenden Healthcare, based at Holgate Park, provides a range of discretionary healthcare services for a UK membership of more than 900,000.