Couple Stole Nearly $200K From Celebrity Chef to Fund Disney Vacations

family stole from celebrity chef
Credit: Wales News Service

A Disney vacation is almost guaranteed to be a very expensive experience, and there are a number of ways that families save up for the trip of a lifetime. Some people pay for things in cash and save the extra change, others put a set amount of money aside each month, and then there are some who take advantage of the Disney Rewards Dollars they can get by using their Disney credit card. There are tons of ways to save, but one most people would probably not consider is embezzling money.

Space Mountain Ride Vehicle

Credit: Disney

However, that is what one woman did, and she nearly bankrupted her boss in the process.

Nicola Nightingale worked for celebrity chef Stephen Terry — a celebrity chef and very close friend of Gordon Ramsay. Terry, who appeared on the popular UK show Great British Menu, hired Nightingale to be the administrator of his restaurant, The Hardwick, located in Wales. It was in that role that Nightingale began stealing large amounts of money. In the two years she was with the company, she reportedly stole approximately €150,000, which is just over $187,000 US.

Stephen Terry The Hardwick

Credit: The Hardwick

Mrs. Nightingale and her husband, Simon Nightingale, reportedly spent the funds on traveling this world with their children. This included trips to France, where they visited Disneyland Paris. They also traveled to the United States and visited Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

It was only during the COVID-19 pandemic that Terry learned of Nightingale’s theft. It was then that Terry and his wife contacted a bank in the area and discovered that Nightingale was making extra payments to herself. He also discovered that she had not been paying vendors and the restaurant owed more than $100,000. Terry had to take out loans to pay his debt.

Simon Nightingale stolen Disney money

Credit: Simon Nightingale

Sadly, Terry will never see the stolen money returned to him. The judge in the case gave Mr. and Mrs. Nightingale probation and 100 hours of community service. He also ordered them to pay €1 in restitution. Yes, just one euro. According to the judge, the Nightingales have no assets that could be forfeited to pay Terry the money he lost.

The judge also said that sending the Nightingales to prison would have a negative impact on their family. Terry pointed out that the judge didn’t seem to care about the impact this has had on his family. He called the ruling “an absolute joke.”

The Hardwick

Credit: The Hardwick

This is not the first time that people have used stolen money to fund their Disney vacations. Disney Fanatic has reported on many instances where people stole money to visit the theme parks. Last, a “pastor” used stolen funds to head to The Most Magical Place on Earth. This year, board members stole more than $200,000 from a police fund, parents stole $91,000 from a youth soccer league, and a woman and her late Sheriff’s Deputy husband stole more than $50,000.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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