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‘Every day I awake at 4am with cold sweat, paralysed with fear’ – fraud victim

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This is the business impact statement submitted by Max Punni whose pharmacy business lost £1.3million through the fraud carried out by Darren McKenzie:

This crime has left me and my pharmacy company struggling for survival in arguably the toughest financial climate since the Second World War. We have sustained a financial loss of more than £1million, so one outrageous individual could live a fantasy lifestyle with utter disregard to the consequences.

This has required me, as the owner, to cut staffing hours, not be paid any dividend for more than two years, double my working hours to reduce staffing costs – frequently working 16-hour days – and averaging 80-hour weeks, working seven days a week.

Nobody could have anticipated the Covid-19 pandemic and this almost pushed us over the edge as it emerged during our darkest hour.

I have had to revisit suppliers and contractors who previously refused to deal with us due to late payment, re-establish our credibility and juggle finances precariously at times to avoid shutting pharmacies and depriving patients of vital healthcare facilities. I have cashed in all my personal investments and sold assets to keep the company afloat.

As a direct result, I have not been able to settle down and start a family of my own and have had to double my efforts and commitment to remaining alive and continuing healthcare provision.

It is no exaggeration that I have endured personal misery and suffering and continue to do so to this day. My life’s course has changed; stress, anxiety and melancholy have been my constant companions.

Every day I awake at 4am with cold sweat, paralysed with fear. Fortunately, my faith and meditation practices mean I am able to cope.

I am no superman and feel I had no choice but to strive beyond my previously perceived limits and what I regarded to be humanly possible to protect my family, staff and several thousand patients we serve.