Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Former Deputy Director of Security Industry Authority sentenced over £37k fraud.



A former Deputy Director of the Security Industry Authority (SIA) has been jailed after she defrauded the government body out of more than £37,000 for travel allowance payments to which she wasn’t entitled.

Charlotte Jennings, 45 (10/07/1971) of Green Hall Close, Atherton,pleaded guilty at the Inner London Crown Court today (Tuesday 13 September) to one count of fraud by abuse of a position of trust and one count of possession of articles for use in fraud. She was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years and 150 hours of unpaid work, she is also subject to a compensation order of £35,363.

Her partner, Nick Metcalfe, 50 (30/05/1966) of the same address also pleaded guilty to possession of articles for use in fraud and aiding fraud by false representation and he was sentenced to a 12 month community order and 150 hours of unpaid work.

In September 2013, Jennings was appointed Deputy Director of the SIA – the government body that regulates the security industry – and was posted to work from their offices based in Holborn, central London.

At the time she was appointed to the post, Jennings was living in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, so as part of her package, she was given a travel allowance, which would cover her weekly return trip to and from London and hotel accommodation in London during the working week. This came to around £25,000 per year and was agreed to last two years, but on the condition that she was residing in the north of England.

However, on 28 February 2014, Jennings moved to a flat in Bridgeman Road, Islington and began to live in London, but didn’t inform the SIA of the change of address as she was required to do so.

After SIA ordered an audit to be carried out in August 2015 on those receiving special travel allowance payments, Jennings then set about creating false bank statements to make it appear as though she was still travelling to and from Cheshire every week. She enlisted the help of her partner, Metcalfe, who helped her to create the false bank statements and got him to make it look like she was still purchasing train tickets and making hotel payments.

However, following the audit, the SIA became suspicious that Jennings was falsifying the statements and the case was referred to the City of London Police. Detectives arrested Jennings on 28 September 2015, seizing her laptop and phones as part of the investigation.

Jennings was arrested on 28 September 2015 and through their enquiries, detectives found that she had researched fake bank statements on her laptop and then tasked her partner to obtain and create fake bank statements that would show the necessary details to dupe the SIA. Officers compared the fake bank statements with the real ones, which showed spending patterns consistent with somebody living permanently in London and had no record of any train ticket or hotel payments.

From the time Jennings moved to London, until her fraud was discovered, she received just over £37,000 in travel expense payments.

Fraud Investigator Andy Cope, from the City of London Police said: “Jennings was in a senior position within a government agency, and one where the public would expect her to act with honesty and integrity. She knew that she was receiving travel payments that she wasn’t entitled to and deliberately withheld the fact that she’d moved to London. To make matters even worse, when her lies were about to catch up with her, she went even further by providing fake bank statements that she’d produced with the help of her partner.

“This sentence should serve as a stark warning to others in similar positions that fraud is a serious offence. Like Jennings, you could end up with a criminal conviction, lose your job or even face the very real prospect of spending time behind bars.”

CEO of the SIA, Alan Clamp said:

“The SIA does not tolerate any fraud. We have internal controls to identify such issues. These controls, coupled with a concern raised by a member of staff, enabled us to identify something suspicious had occurred on this occasion.

“This is an issue of one individual who has certainly not been a model citizen. It is disappointing that the actions of one person has the potential to cast a shadow over the integrity and the good work of our staff and the important work they do to protect the public”.

The City of London Police Fraud Squad takes on many of the UK’s most complex and significant fraud investigations. It includes units dedicated to combating money laundering and recovering the proceeds of crime.

The City of London Police is also home to Action Fraud (National Fraud Reporting Centre) and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, which together records and analyses thousands of reports of fraud each week. Further to this it hosts the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED).